City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

March 30, 2017

March 30th

Filed under: Birds, Gambel's Oak, Horsechestnut, Plants — canopus56 @ 4:17 pm

This is Not the Natural Place. – Part XI – More Water Infrastructure

1:30 p.m. Another Coriolis effect storm is approaching, the sky is overcast, and as I drive along the lower canyon, two Gambel’s oaks have bloomed. The overcast skies reduces residents using the canyon, and it is a quiet day of solitude, except for a singing House sparrow perched at the top of the Horsechestnut tree below Guardhouse Gate. At picnic site 6, two large trees have bloomed at the uppermost branches one-hundred feet above the ground. They are only two in the first mile. During the last half-mile, the storm brings with a mild rain, and it is expected to turn to snow in the night.

* * * *

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on March 30th, 1853, he excavates a woodchuck burrow. March 30, 1856, he sees a purple lake grass, shunk cabbage, golden saxifrage, marigolds, and sedge grass. On March 30, 1858, he sees fifteen sheldrakes. On March 30, 1859, he sees a red squirrel and two sheldrakes.

* * * *

Increased recreation use in the canyon led to further water infrastructure improvements. In 1950, fecal coliform counts in the canyon waters had grown to high levels (Hooten, 30), and the Public Health Service threatened to prohibit use of Salt Lake’s drinking water at facilities involved in interstate transportation, i.e. – bus stations, train stations and the airport (Salt Lake Telegram, December 27, 1951).

As noted previously (January 5th), in 1952, the Salt Lake City Commission approved a plan to increase its drinking water quality as required by the U.S. Public Health Service (Salt Lake Telegram, Jan. 5, 1952). The plan included closing City Creek Creek above any water intake pipe, building a water filtration plant, moving all toilet facilities at least 50 feet away from the stream, and patrolling the canyon for watershed violations. The water filtration plant was built in 1952 and 1953. All public access to City Creek Canyon was closed until 1965 (Hooten). In 1965, the City reopened public access to the water plant at mile 3.4, but the canyon above the plant remained closed. In 1975, public access to the entire canyon was restored (Hooten).

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On March 30, 1994, three prison escapes were arrested at the mouth of City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Tribune).

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