Forest ranger quashes rumors of Pineview Reservoir in town meeting

Sep 30, 2022, 10:22 AM | Updated: 11:21 am

HUNTSVILLE, Utah — News travels fast in small towns. Rumors travel faster.

“First and foremost, we’re not closing Pineview,” Sean Harwood said to a room full of applause.

Harwood is the Ogden District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.

Pineview Reservoir is in his district.

One of the biggest rumors was that a fence would block access to Pineview, which is a meeting room at the Huntsville Library Thursday night was packed.

Harwood wanted to set the record straight.

“The fence. Let’s talk about the fence. No, we’re not fencing the lake,” he said.

However, there will be more areas requiring a user fee.

Harwood explained improvements being done at some of the recreation spots, like Spring Creek, Pelican Beach and Windsurfer Beach.

He says a user fee will help maintain them, especially because so many areas at Pineview have become overrun with garbage and graffiti as the reservoir has become more popular.

“The population growth is a big part of this,” Harwood said. “COVID showed us what the future of Pineview was. We had a lot more recreationists. Forty percent more.”

That number continues to increase.

Those who live in Huntsville have seen more traffic and people.

“We wouldn’t be to this point if people would be reasonable. If they’d pick up after themselves,” said Williamena Richardson, who lives in Huntsville.

There were also questions from people about sharing private access to the reservoir with the public, if they would still be allowed to get to the reservoir behind their homes instead of an access point and why projects that were started in the past couldn’t be finished now.

At some points, the meeting got a little heated.

“This is baloney,” one man from the crowd said while pointing at Harwood.

“Really,” Harwood said. “I’m a servant for all people.”

Harwood knew not everyone would be happy with the Forest Service’s plans but feels it was important to let them know what was really going on.

“It’s good because they ask questions and we give them the right information,” he said. “The rumors build quick, and we needed to get this out.”

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Forest ranger quashes rumors of Pineview Reservoir in town meeting