Lehi residents will soon enjoy recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, or playing on a sandy beach right in their own backyard at the new Dry Creek Lake reservoir. Work on the lake, which is located on the boundary of Lehi City and Highland City, has begun to turn the 55-acre plot into a recreation area that will also serve as a debris basin to alleviate flooding downstream. The project is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2021.
“We are excited about the development of this property,” said Cameron Boyle, Lehi City Assistant City Administrator. “We have been working for years to make it all happen.” The reservoir will be an operation facility for the Lehi Pressure Irrigation System as well, according to Lorin Powell, Lehi City Engineer.
“This checks so many boxes for Lehi – flood control, water storage for our pressurized irrigation system, and unique recreation opportunities. The Parks Department and City staff have looked at parks like this in other communities and asked about their challenges. They’ve really done their homework,” said City Councilwoman Paige Albrecht.
Although the land is owned by the North Utah County Water Conservancy District, Lehi City will maintain the reservoir and develop shoreline improvements including a parking lot, docks, pavilions, and a sandy beach. At a recent Lehi City Council meeting a boundary adjustment was made with Highland City at the border of the two cities south of SR-92. The new border goes right down the middle of the lake (north to south) and will allow Lehi City to develop the northwest shoreline. Highland City will be responsible for maintenance along the east side of the lake, while Lehi City will be responsible for the west side.
According to the Dry Creek Lake Facebook page, work has started by W. W. Clyde on replacing the spillway, grading the west side for the future access road and parking lots, and grading the lake bottom. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will keep the lake stocked with fish and install cleaning stations. The reservoir water surface area will be about 21 acres containing water year-round.
“My vision for the project is to create a regional park that can be enjoyed by all, no matter what type of recreation they enjoy. The park will offer swimming, fishing, walking and biking paths, non-motorized water sports, a sandy beach area, and more. It will be a major challenge for Lehi City and Highland City to ensure the safety and security of not only those using the lake but also nearby Lehi and Highland residents,” said Chris Bowerbank, founder of the Dry Creek Lake Advisory Committee. The committee includes representatives from each of the surrounding Lehi and Highland communities, as well as other stakeholders and representatives from Lehi and Highland City Councils and public works departments and the North Utah County Water Conservancy District.
“Chris [Bowerbank] has done a lot of groundwork to get this project off the ground, all on his own time and without compensation. It was critical to have a citizen compiling all the information and putting it into relatable terms. He’s made Dry Creek Lake a reality,” said Albrecht. Bowerbank has organized and produced mass sporting events including triathlons and running races for 15 years. With his experience coordinating with municipalities on mass gathering permits, he knew Lehi would need community involvement.
“I have talked with Lehi Police Chief Darren Paul and Lehi City Fire Chief Jeremy Craft about patrol, fire, and safety concerns. With the opening of the lake slated for Spring 2021, budget requests for additional equipment and capabilities like water rescue will be made during the upcoming 2020-21 budget cycle. Both Chiefs are very excited about the new recreation opportunities,” said Bowerbank.
The Dry Creek Lake Advisory Committee plans to create a Neighborhood Watch program for the lake with assistance from the Lehi and Lone Peak Police Departments. The surrounding communities will participate in the program to help ensure the health, safety, and welfare of everyone during the hours the park is closed. “Vagrancy and trespassing at night are genuine concerns and the Lehi Police Department has plans to include additional patrols of the park during both daytime and nighttime hours,” said Bowerbank.
“Dry Creek Lake will be comparable in size to Tibble Fork Reservoir. If you look at the Parks Master Plan, Lehi is ‘under-parked.’ Adding Dry Creek Lake as a regional park gives us a lot of bang for our buck,” said Councilwoman Albrecht. “I have a kayak hanging in my garage – I can’t wait to use it on Dry Creek Lake!”