|Scenic Goblin Valley is the site of some long awaited improvements.|
The goblins of Goblin Valley have some new stomping grounds as the campground restoration project nears completion. Park Manager, Eugene Swalberg said, "We are so excited to see this project near completion. The campground reopened on April 1. We wanted to be sure to be open for Easter which is our biggest weekend. There are still a few things remaining to be finished, but for the most part things are winding down. We have a new RV dump station which is paved. Concrete pads have been installed at each of the 24 sites for picnic tables. We don't have new picnic tables yet, but we have been assured they will be coming. The concrete has a special red dye in it which matches the surroundings almost exactly. It blends in really good.
"We have also added an ADA accessible site which we didn't have before, which will include a raised tent pad. This site is the closest to the restroom. We will also have a host site. Anyone interested in being a camp host can contact our volunteer coordinator, Robin Watson in the state office. Anyone wishing to make a reservation for our campground can call 1-800-322-3770.
"New privacy shelters and sun and wind breaks are being installed at each of the sites, they have a roof and sides and one side is equipped with a screen. They act as a good wind break and provide some relief from the sun. It really gets hot out here during the summer. A new restroom and showers will also be installed by the end of the summer.
"Some of the sites have tent pads and they all have new paved parking areas. They have ground grills and fire rings. The campground has become more spread out and private.
"We are really excited about the group use area. It will have a large parking area and a 30 x 60 pavilion over the picnic tables. It will accommodate large groups up to 60 people. There will be water at the group site and at four other central locations throughout the campground and at the dump station. Water is a scarce commodity around here. All of our water comes from a solar powered well with a submersible pump with an auto float. We have two 20,000 gallon storage tanks. The water is tested by the state every three months and it's always good. We are totally off the grid for power, so our power also comes from solar panels.
"We have one permanent ranger at Goblin Valley and that is Aaron Farmer. He refers to himself as the 'Head Goblin.' We are also looking for two seasonal workers who can stay on site. We are also going to advertise for the position of assistant park manager for the two parks, Goblin Valley and Green River State Park at the golf course. The assistant park manager will manage the day to day operations at Goblin Valley and I will spend one-two days a week out here, too. Blaine Luke and Tim Smith from state parks were instrumental in seeing these improvements to fruition.
"The money for the project comes from the Division of Parks and Recreation and was appropriated by the legislature. Goblin Valley became a state park in 1974 and since that time we haven't had a lot of attention. So we were definitely due. This project has been in the works for three years and we've just been waiting for it all to come together to make it a reality.
|Shade shelters and wind breaks have been installed at each site.|
"Nielson Construction has done the paving and the shaping and configuration of the campground. They have constructed the spurs for parking and for camp trailers. The crew from the division has done all the cement pads and the cement under the pavilion. Members of the crew are, Duane Swasey, Mike Adams and Lawrence Burraston. This has saved a lot of money. If we had to contract that out it would have really raised our expenses. The crew has also constructed the shade shelters. The division has four regions statewide and on March 8 the crews from the other regions joined our crew and helped with the cement and shelters.
"Nielson's has really done a great job. Legrand Johnson from Moab has the cement contract. Dan Harrison from Green River also installed a new water line and complete water distribution system in the park from the top of the hill down. Johansen and Tuttle did the engineering work and they have done an outstanding job, we really like how it has turned out. Rex Funk from the county road department and the county commissioners have been great to work with. Green River City has also been very cooperative on this new venture.
"A new vault toilet has been installed at the overlook and a cement walkway will be put in there as well.
"Easter is our busiest weekend followed by UEA weekend. We had 85,000 visitors last year. We are down this year, with the campground being closed in March. March is one of our busiest months. Spring and fall are usually the peak out here. We hope to increase usage in the summer with the increased amenities in the campground. People can use our campground as a staging area to access the Swell. We don't have ATV riding within the park, but on the old road at the bottom of the hill you can stage your ATVs and access Temple Mountain, Little Wild Horse, Swasey's Cabin and many other attractions. There are miles of roads out there," said Swalberg.
Swalberg replaced long time park manager, Blaine Luke on March 8. Swalberg is the caretaker of two parks, Goblin Valley and Green River State Park. "We have had a lot of good support over the years. As soon as the snow was off the golf course in Green River, we had a lot of people out. We receive most of our compliments on the course design and our greens at the Green River Golf Course. We strive to do our best. The next nine holes are always on the back burner and Sen. Mike Dmitrich is a big supporter of the Green River Golf Course. I am still learning about that aspect of my new job and I'm striving to improve as a golfer. The mayor, Glen Johnson works at the course and we've hired Blaine Luke back part time to help out there as well.
"We are excited about the improvements here at Goblin Valley and the golf course. We want people to come and check out the improvements and stay in the campground. One of the construction workers from Nielson's Construction when he came out to work on the asphalt said he had never been here before and he had lived in Elmo all of his life. He said he thought the park was over by Ghost Rock somewhere. So, that shows me that there are a lot of Emery County people who haven't discovered Goblin Valley and what it has to offer," said Swalberg.