SALT LAKE CITY — Beginning next week, the Department of Public Utilities will begin replacing and enhancing restroom facilities at several recreation sites in the Wasatch Canyons watershed.
The most ambitious project will occur at Big Cottonwood Canyon’s Silver Lake Nature Center near Brighton Ski Resort. Restrooms there will demolished and rebuilt over the summer, with the new facilities expected to open this fall. The city, Salt Lake County and the U.S. Forest Service are collaborating on the project.
According to the city, public parking in the Silver Lake lot will be reduced by half during the construction.
Other restroom improvements include construction of double-vault (pit) toilets at Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Mountain Trailhead in Emigration Canyon, Little Dell Reservoir and the Guardsman Pass Winter Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Temporary restrooms will be in place at Silver Lake, Donut Falls and Little Mountain during construction.
Recreation in Salt Lake City’s protected watershed has made canyon restroom availability and quality a growing public concern.
“Millions of visitors enjoy our nearby canyons year-round, and functional restrooms are critical to public health and the stewardship of our watershed,” Public Utilities Director Laura Briefer said in a statement. “With cuts in federal funding to maintain these facilities, local governments have had to step up to address financing and construction to protect our water sources and public health.”
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson spearheaded an effort last year to find funding for the restroom rehabs.
“We know our canyons are overloved and underfunded,” she said in a statement. “I’m pleased government agencies could come together to support this basic and essential need.”