Jackson Flat Reservoir
Jackson Flat Reservoir, Something Fun To Do For All!
By Kelly Brown
What was once a lonely body of water surrounded by sagebrush, cactus and not much else, Jackson Flat Reservoir is now a thriving destination that has something fun to do for all. Go walking, biking or even longboarding on the Sherry Belle Trail. There is more than three miles of asphalt trail that circles the reservoir with two detours that take you close to the water’s edge. Don’t forget the newly constructed connector trail that turns off the main trail and takes you into the town of Kanab. KCWCD has partnered with Kane County, Kanab City and the Kanab High School cross country program to host the annual Turkey Trot 5K Race that occurs every Thanksgiving morning. Try your hand at Kanab’s local fishing hole. Maybe you’ll get lucky and reel in the Utah state record largemouth bass, or maybe just think of the next great fishing story on your way home to tell the grandkids. Jackson Flat Reservoir is regularly stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout. There is also a healthy population of largemouth bass and sunfish. Someone even pulled out a 25-pound catfish recently. Each year KCWCD and Kane County hosts The Reel Deal Fishing Tournament, where competitors have two days to reel in the heaviest combined hauls within the Utah state catch limits and are awarded with cash prizes. If handling slimy fish isn’t your thing, rent a kayak or paddleboard and get out on the open water, where you will be awed by the views of blue water and red cliffs. Kanab City celebrated 150 years by bringing in Nitro Circus and Adventure Tour Company where the community launched kayaks and paddleboards for free. Those who dared were launched into the air off the Nitro Circus blob and splashed into the water below. Not everything happening at the reservoir is so extreme. For those seeking something more leisurely, there are several groups of people who go bird watching at different times of the year. Since the creation of the reservoir, a large variety of different birds have been spotted including eagles, pelicans, ducks, etc. Who knows, you may spot a rare bird you’ve never seen before while it passes through during its migration. Tired of heating up your lunch at the office or going home to eat your leftovers from last night’s dinner? Pack a lunch and take it to the outdoor pavilion for a picnic. The kids get done early with their lunch? Let them wander over to the newly constructed sand volleyball court or play on the monkey bars that were just installed. The bars are part of a street workout calisthenics circuit that includes bars for dips, push-ups, pull-ups and many other exercises. There is even a battle rope, punching bag and weights for Olympic lifts. This summer, Jackson Flat Reservoir will play host for the Street Workout World Cup, where international athletes will come from all over the globe to compete for handsome cash prizes. As part of this event, the athletes will hold a clinic for the community to teach basic movements that assist in learning the skill and to demonstrate the intended use of the equipment. If you still have not found anything on the list of many things to do at Jackson Flat Reservoir, dust off your old frisbee and come out to play a round of disc golf on the 18-hole course. Players are sure to have a great time, as there are plenty of water hazards to throw around and over if the water level is high enough. If you throw a great shot, you are sure to be thrilled as you watch the disc fly over the water and land safely in-bounds. If you shank one and it goes in the water, it’s a good laugh with family and friends and gives you an opportunity to cool off while swimming to retrieve your disc. Kanab Disc Golf Course will host the Fourth Annual Kanab Campout in 2021, which will attract both amateur and professional players from the neighboring states of Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and even California. The course is free to play and is surely a good time. For those that aren’t into athletics at all, but still want to enjoy the property, get involved with Stellar Vista Observatory, a local non-profit organization that puts on star parties at the reservoir to educate the public and tourists on the night sky that’s visible from the property. One will be awed by the beauty that is in Kanab’s skies that is not drowned out by the glow from a bustling city. Jackson Flat is situated in the middle of multiple national and state parks which protect the night skies from light pollution. Stellar Vista Observatory aims to build a state-of-the-art observatory on the property which would be open to the community for educational and recreational purposes. If you are a sunbather, come spend a relaxing day under the rays at the beach park or find your own private section of beach along the trail somewhere. Each year for the 24th of July, the community celebrates Pioneer Day at Jackson Flat Reservoir by launching off fireworks over the water. Watch the show from the beach, somewhere along the trail or from your parked car around the access road to the property. It’s a marvel to watch the fireworks reflect off the water. KCWCD has future plans to develop a set of climbing boulders that gives kids an opportunity to build confidence in their climbing abilities that will translate to successful and safe hikes as they venture out to Kanab’s natural landscapes. The boulders will have tougher routes for more advanced climbers as well. Next to the climbing boulders, there will be a game complex made up of a bocce ball court, shuffleboard, cornhole, horseshoe pits and ladder toss. These developments will also include a sunken fire pit where a group of people can come out and responsibly have a fire and not leave a mess around the property. Last, but certainly not least, KCWCD is currently working on bringing a destination golf course that will be designed by world renown course developer, David McLay Kidd. Kidd is most known for his course, Bandon Dunes, which is situated on the Oregon Coast. Jackson Flat Reservoir truly has something fun to do for every type of person. KCWCD would like to give a special thanks to those who made it all possible: Office of Outdoor Recreation, CEBA (Center for Education, Business and the Arts), DWR (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources), DPR (Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation) and Kane County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District. Let’s not forget to thank all the local businesses in Kanab for sponsoring the many events held at the property. Jackson Flat Reservoir, come one, come all!