Putting the Fun in Funding: Recent Investments in Parks and Recreation

October 11, 2022

During the 2021 General Session, the Legislature passed H.B. 346, “Natural Resources Entities Amendments.” Among other things, the legislation split the Division of Parks and Recreation into two separate line items: the Division of State Parks and the Division of Recreation.  

Between the 2021 and 2022 General Sessions, the Legislature invested over $185 million one-time from General Fund surpluses to expand outdoor recreation opportunities for Utah’s citizens and visitors. This is the largest amount of state funds ever appropriated for State Parks and Outdoor Recreation. (By comparison, combined base budget for the two divisions from the General Fund is less than $5 million.)

The additional funding is being used to create new facilities, including building two new state parks (Utahraptor and Lost Creek), revamping the Antelope Island Visitor Center, and adding a new marina at Bear Lake. The Divisions are also using funds to improve existing infrastructure, such as creating or expanding campgrounds and trails, increasing parking capacity, enhancing day-use pavilions, and more.  The following chart shows how the funding is being used, summarized into major categories.

The following table includes an alphabetical list of the projects underway by the Divisions, along with a budget estimate for each project:

Project TitleCost ($)
Antelope Island Visitor Center Expansion12,000,000
Antelope White Rock Bay Campground8,000,000
Bear Lake Campground – Beach/Day Use Improvements (Rainbow Cove)5,000,000
Bear Lake Marina60,000,000
Bike Park Phase I450,000
Bountiful Trails Master Plan500,000
Cache Valley Nature Park and Accessible Recreation300,000
Cedar Mountain Winter Recreation Project200,000
Deer Creek Campground4,000,000
Escalante Campground – Day Use Amenities3,000,000
Goblin Valley Campground – Day Use Improvements and Expansion1,000,000
Green River Campground and Lodging Expansion2,000,000
Gunlock Campground – Day Use Area (Below Dam)4,500,000
Helper River Restoration Phase VI500,000
Jordan River Nature Center Phase II (Salt Lake County)250,000
Jordanelle – Beach Expansion, Adding Parking, and Trail Access3,000,000
Jordanelle – Campground and Day Use Area (Rock Cliff)12,000,000
Kanab City Connector Trail – Trailhead50,000
Lost Creek State Park – Campground, Day Use Area8,000,000
Mt. Pleasant to Spring City Multi-use Trail – Phase II500,000
Outdoor Access and Vertical Trails800,000
Pine Valley Ranger District Trail Network – Spring Hollow Phase II450,000
Bridal Veil Falls Surrounding Trail Development (Planning)400,000
Provo River Parkway500,000
Quail Creek Campground3,000,000
Red Fleet – Campground and Day Use Area7,500,000
Ron Wood Park, Bike and Skate Park Facility500,000
Sand Hollow Campground – Add’l Day Use Area6,000,000
Utah Lake State Park – Day Use Area3,000,000
Utahraptor State Park – Design Engineering, Well Drilling, and Land Purchase28,500,000
Willard Campground – Beach Area and Parking8,000,000
Working with Utah County, Monument Sign Design1,200,000