Quail Creek State Park. For much of the year, I live (mostly) somewhere betwixt gravel and sand, shore lap and shop, garage and grotto. I wish there actually WAS a grotto on our lake, but I'll settle for cliffs and coves.
Between November and February, we don't spend a tremendous amount of time, on a daily basis, at the park; it's cooling in November, with shortening days. In February we find the coldest water temperatures, but extending hours of sunlight, still with little to no park visitation. I typically retreat into my design skillset and work with a variety of clients that need someone with a trained eye and an ability to craft a good retail image.
This winter, however, we've spent a few more hours than are usual at Quail, working to clear the beach with volunteers and park staff, headed by our new Park Manager, Candace Smith. She is a DNR Ranger with some years of law enforcement under her belt and an enthusiasm for improvements that is welcome. Her predecessor, Laura Melling, had the insurmountable charge of managing three state parks, one of which (Sand Hollow), became one of the most visited parks in the entire state. Quail Creek and Gunlock State Parks, where we have our rental fleets, were also under her umbrella of operations, but the realities of having half a million bodies through the Sand Hollow gates meant that she was simply unable to carve out the time that was needed to plow forward much at the other two venues, which had about 2/5ths the visitation, combined, that Sand Hollow State Park gets on its own.
Gunlock State Park, in my opinion, is the most picturesque of the three. I always relish the opportunity to drive to the other side of the county and operate there. The drive, alone, up Gunlock Rd. from Old Highway 91 on the Shivwits Band of Paiute Reservation is spellbinding - watch the road! We are thrilled to be there with kayak and paddleboard rentals. Gunlock also was blessed to receive a dedicated manager, Jon Allred. Jon has many years of park service under his belt and comes to the position having worked from the maintenance and business development side of the equation at no less than four of Utah's state parks. He, like Candace, is young, thoughtful, and anxious to make improvements for park guests.
We miss Laura, and she was always good to us. She didn't always agree with our ideas, but she always listened and explained her rationale if she was leaning in a different direction. Thank you, Laura, for your legacy of service. These new managers will be great and do a fine job of carrying the torch - maybe not when fire restrictions are active....
In other news, we are partnering with a company that will bring motorboat and personal watercraft rentals to Quail Creek and probably Gunlock, as well. We will make a formal announcement soon. They will operate independently of our shop, but we will be able to facilitate rentals of their gear and help with guest check-ins while they take care of all physical aspects of the rental experience.
Additionally, we should be able to rent out Rungu E-bikes. These behemoths have a double-fork up front and offer interesting possibilities for trail enthusiasts. Double-track or wider trails are fine, but fine, technical single-track is a no-go. We have plenty of both immediate to Quail Lake. Should be fun!
We welcome these developments and are stoked to continually enhance guest experience among the natural wonders of southern Utah.
For events and upcoming meetups, follow us on Instagram, and maybe even Twitter, both @digpaddlesports . Facebook.com/digpaddlesports is a great place to see what is going on in the paddling world(s), as well as event announcements. Events are also announced at meetup.com/zionpaddlers, as well as Eventbrite.com and paddleguru.com (paddle events only).
See you on the water!