In Utah, we are blessed to have an abundance of recreational opportunities right outside our doors. Hiking, skiing, mountain biking…the list goes on and on. Although our canyons are great places to seek out some outdoor fun, proper care must be given to the watershed to protect our water supply.
What is a watershed? This is an area of land that drains all of the rainfall and streams into a common outlet. Snow and rain fall in the mountains, warmer weather melts the snow, which runs into the creeks at the bottom of the canyons, which then travels to water treatment plants.
If your recreation plans include a trip up the canyon, make sure you know what the watershed restrictions are before you go. One way to keep the watershed clean is to limit pets and domestic animals from entering the watershed. You probably wouldn’t want to drink the water your dog has been playing in, right? Although the water is treated, the dirtier it is, the more treatment it requires.
Different watersheds have different rules. Some canyons allow dogs on certain days of the week while others prohibit animals all together. There are also rules for people getting in the water. In an effort to keep these waters clean, the key is to limit contact with people and pets.
There can be safety concerns in watershed areas as well. If you’re mountain biking on a trail in a watershed that has received a lot of rain lately, you could encounter parts of the trail that are washed out or are too rocky to pass. There are no safety guarantees in nature, so use your best judgment.
While our watersheds are extremely important, you can still have fun outdoors without damaging these vital areas. A good balance of conservation and recreation will ensure clean, safe water to use for years to come.