Beginning next week, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities will launch a series of restroom enhancements and replacements at popular recreation sites in the Wasatch Canyons watershed.
The most ambitious project will occur at Big Cottonwood Canyon’s Silver Lake Nature Center, near Brighton Ski Resort. Restrooms there will demolished and rebuilt over the summer, with the new facilities expected to open this fall.
More than 100,000 people visit the boardwalk-surrounded Silver Lake each year. The site offers a short and easy hike and attracts people of all ages and abilities. Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, and the U.S. Forest Service are collaborating on the project.
The County is providing $300,000 toward construction, the Forest Service supported planning, and Salt Lake City Public Utilities will manage demolition and new construction. The Big Cottonwood Canyon Association – a group of canyon homeowners – was active in keeping the need for the project in the spotlight.
Massive recreation in Salt Lake City’s protected watershed has made canyon restroom availability and quality a growing public concern.
“Millions of visitors enjoy our nearby canyons year-round, and functional restrooms are critical to public health and the stewardship of our watershed,” said Public Utilities Director Laura Briefer. “With cuts in federal funding to maintain these facilities, local governments have had to step up to address financing and construction to protect our water sources and public health.”
The job or protecting and maintaining the Central Wasatch canyons is shared by federal and municipal authorities.
“We want to express our deepest appreciation to Salt Lake City Public Utilities, Salt Lake County, key stakeholders and members of the public for their support in improving critical infrastructure,” said Rebecca Hotze, District Ranger for the Salt Lake Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. “These projects will double our restroom capacity at our most critically important sites.”
Salt Lake County Council Member Jenny Wilson spearheaded an effort last year to find funding for the restroom rehabs.
“We know our canyons are over-loved and underfunded,” she said. “I’m pleased government agencies could come together to support this basic and essential need.”
Other restroom improvements include construction of double-vault (pit) toilets at:
- Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Little Mountain Trailhead in Emigration Canyon
- Little Dell Reservoir
- Guardsman Pass Winter Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon
As project supervisors, Public Utilities crews will keep inconvenience to a minimum. Equipment mobilization to demolish the Silver Lake restrooms begins on Monday, July 9.
Public parking in the Silver Lake lot will be reduced by half during the summer/early fall construction work.
Temporary restrooms will be in place at Silver Lake, Donut Falls and Little Mountain during construction.