I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah surrounded by mountains. During the summer months when I was younger, my family and I would hike for hours up different canyons.
My favorite has always been Bell Canyon. I found myself hiking Bell Canyon for the waterfalls we can hear, see, and feel. While we could not really see the waterfall (until we got there), we can hear water pounding against the large boulders. And you know the waterfall is there.
The canyon is split by a lower reservoir; this is usually where hikers take a break to enjoy the view and water before finishing the full trail. I remember sitting on a large rock dipping my feet into the satin water while my brother watched the fishermen. I remembered my brother asking me, “Why are they putting the fish back into the water?”
It was not until recently that I saw change. In August 2015, I hiked up Bell Canyon once again with some close friends. Our goal was to find the lower waterfall. When we got to the first resting point—the lower reservoir—I could not believe my eyes. The reservoir that sunk! I smelled the odor of dead fish, and saw their skeletal remains. I saw plastic water bottles filled with dirt from the reservoir.
What had happened to my beloved trail? What happened to the water? According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there has been a decrease in the water level from 14 feet to 7 feet below ground level in the last 10 years around the area of Bell Canyon.
How do we preserve this area? We can start with abiding to the rules at the beginning of trailheads. There rules are, but not limited to: NO littering, NO Campfires, NO Dogs, NO Alcohol, etc.
Just like the fishermen, who caught and release the fish back into his home. We (as hikers) can respect the land by taking out what we bring in such as water bottles and trash.
- Starting the trail. n.d. Digital Image. WillhiteWeb.com. n.d. Web. 20 February 2016. http://www.willhiteweb.com/utah_hiking_trails/bells_canyon_trail/lower_reservoir_083.htm
- Johnson, Bethany. Bells Canyon Trail to Lower Falls. Digital Image. AllTrails.com. AllTrails, Inc., July 2015. Web. 20 February 2016. http://alltrails.com/members/bethany-johnson-1/photos
- Holzem, Heidi. Bells Canyon Trail to Lower Falls. Digital Image. AllTrails.com. AllTrails, Inc., September 2014. Web. 20 February 2016. http://alltrails.com/members/heidiholzem
- Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir. n.d. Digital Image. WillhiteWeb.com. n.d. Web. 20 February 2016. http://www.willhiteweb.com/utah_hiking_trails/bells_canyon_trail/lower_reservoir_083.htm
- S. Geological Survey (USGC) of Water Depth Level near Wasatch Mountain Range. n.d. Online Map. United States: U.S. Geological Suvey. Web. 1 February 2016. http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/countymap.asp?sa=UT&cc=035
- Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir. n.d. Digital Image. Trails360.com: Finding Your Way Outside. n.d. Web. 20 February 2016. http://www.trails360.com/hikes/view/lower_bell_canyon_reservoir
- Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir. n.d. Digital Image. Trails360.com: Finding Your Way Outside. n.d. Web. 20 February 2016. http://www.trails360.com/hikes/view/lower_bell_canyon_reservoirNNote: This is a screenshot of the the same image as 6. The only difference is the screenshot is an enlarged image of the trailhead signage.