PAGE — Glen Canyon National Recreation Area staff, in partnership with ARAMARK, completed the Castle Rock Cut excavation, which lowered the bottom elevation to 3,580 feet above sea level, likely guaranteeing safe passage through the shortcut this summer.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has projected the lake to top 3,625 feet by June 15. The cut was unavailable last year due to low water levels. The lake barely crested the 3,600-foot mark last year and is now down to about 3,578 feet.
Funds from project user fees were used to complete the project, the National Park Service said in a news release. Use of this shortcut to uplake areas will be dependent on lake levels and the draft of each vessel. As the lake rises, boaters are asked to exercise caution and use the cut at their own risk.
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Construction on the Bullfrog main launch ramp has also been completed with funds from project user fees and assistance from ARAMARK. The concrete surface was extended to an elevation of 3,570 feet and widened by an additional 40 feet. The ramp is fully operational and at current lake levels provides approximately eight feet of water depth at the end of the ramp.
The Antelope Point public ramp remains closed to launching due to water levels. The Stateline ramp is scheduled to open May 22.
Castle Rock Cut had been excavated three times earlier, in 1994, 1998 and 2013. Lake Powell has not measured full pool of 3,700 feet since the mid-1980s. The current 14-year period is the driest for unregulated inflow into the lake since it was created in 1963.