Frequently Asked Questions
Rules and Regulations:
Collecting: Everything in the park is protected by law. Removal of any natural or cultural resource is prohibited (R651-620-2).
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in most areas of the park, but must be physically controlled on a six foot leash. Pet owners are responsible for picking up and properly disposing of all fecal matter. All animals are prohibited from public buildings and Bridger Bay Beach except for service dogs as authorized by Section 26-30-2 (R651-603). See Service Animals below.
Drones: A person must obtain written permission from the park before operating an unmanned aircraft within the park system (R651-601-18, R651-602-8). See Special Events below.
Fires: Fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Fires must be completely extinguished when not in use. Leaving a fire unattended is prohibited. Fires are not allowed on any beach (R651-613) or in Ladyfinger Campground.
Hang Gliders: The launching or landing of gliders, hot-air balloons, hang gliders, and other devices designed to carry persons or objects through the air in powerless flight is prohibited except by Special Use Permit (R651-602-3). See Special Events below.
Horses: Horses are allowed on designated trails only (R651-603-7).
Metal Detecting: Metal detecting is prohibited without a permit (R651-620-6).
Off-Highway Vehicle Use: Off-Highway Vehicles are not permitted on park roads or trails except by permit and only in conjunction with a special event for set up and emergency use (R651-411).
Photography: Commercial photography is allowed by Special Use Permit only. Professional and amateur photographers are encouraged to respect the health and safety of wildlife, the protection of natural resources and their own safety. Approaching any animal can be dangerous to the individual and stressful to the animal. Feeding, touching, teasing, or intentionally disturbing any wildlife is prohibited except as approved for authorized hunting (R651-603-5). Disturbing is any activity which causes the animal to change their behavior.
Restricted Animals: Due to the sensitive nature and risk of spreading disease to wildlife, domestic farm animals (with the exception of horses) are strictly prohibited from the park. This includes goats, domestic sheep, llamas and alpacas.
Service Animals: Service animals are allowed in public buildings and beaches. Federal regulations state that a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals. The dog’s presence cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the services, facilities, privileges or advantages offered by the park.
Special Events (Special Use Permits): Events or activities outside normal park operations (i.e. races, fundraising events, weddings, photo shoots, commercial photography, commercial or private filming, etc.) may require a Special Use Permit. There is a $10 application fee. Additional fees vary by event. Liability insurance may be required.
Special Use Permit Application
Return application or submit questions to Assistant Park Manager Wendy Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural Resources and Recreation:
Bison Roundup: The Annual Bison Roundup takes place each fall. Visitors are welcome to watch this exciting event. The Roundup consists of two separate events: The Push and The Working.
The Push: Horse riders move the bison from throughout the island and drive them northward to the holding corrals. Once in the corrals, they rest for five days. This resting period reduces animal stress, allows them to settle down, and makes them more cooperative during the handling phase.
The Working: The bison are sorted through a series of pens and chutes, and eventually filed into the final squeeze chute. One by one, bison are weighed and vaccinated for parasites, clostridium, infectious bovine rhino tracheitis, and bovine vibrosis. Blood samples are collected, and each animal receives a small external computer chip to track their health history. Females are checked for pregnancy and calves are given vaccinations for brucellosis. Excess bison (generally around 200 each year) are sold at a public auction to keep the herd within the carrying capacity of the island.
Camping: Overnight camping is provided year-round. Reservations are recommended on weekends and holidays. Camping is permitted in designated campsites only. No dispersed camping.
Concessions and Services:
R & G Horse and Wagon: Guided horseback ride tours. Reservations required – (801) 726-9514
Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours: Chartered boat rides, dinner tours, kayak rentals, bikes, and more – (801) 989-7281
Island Buffalo Grill: Buffalo burgers, hamburgers, grilled cheese, fries and more – (801) 897-3452
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in most areas of the park, but must be physically controlled on a six foot leash. Pet owners are responsible for picking up and properly disposing of all fecal matter. All animals are prohibited from public buildings and Bridger Bay Beach except for guide or service dogs as authorized by Section 26-30-2 (R651-603). See Service Animals above.
Horses: Horses are allowed on designated trails only. Hitching rails are provided at White Rock Bay Trail Head, Mountainview Trail Head, and at Fielding Garr Ranch. Horses must stay within 50 feet of the trail but follow the trail route. Water troughs are not provided.
Insects: During warm month, insects are present on the island, and emerge at different times.
Biting gnats (no-seeums) emerge in the spring (April – June). Insect repellent is ineffective against the gnats; fine-mesh head nets are recommended.
Midges are non-biting, and form columns along the causeway and near the marina throughout the summer. Vital food source for birds.
Mosquitoes are present throughout the summer. Insect repellent is effective.
Brine Flies emerge during mid-summer and cover the shorelines. These non-biting flies are harmless and move out of the way when approached. Vital food source for birds.
Oolitic Sand: The unique sand found around Great Salt Lake is a product of the high mineral content of the water. Calcium carbonate collects concentrically around a nucleus and forms small, round sand particles.
Road and Mountain Biking: Most non-motorized trails are open to mountain biking. A variety of trails provide opportunities for mountain bikers of all abilities. Road bikes are allowed on all paved roads of the park. Road bikes should use caution, as there are no designated bike lanes and shoulders are small or non-existent. The Davis County Causeway is a great place for road bikes and has a large, designated bike lane.
Swimming in the Lake: Swimming or floating in the lake is allowed. The best place to experience the lake’s highly saline waters is Bridger Bay Beach. Restrooms and showers are available.
What’s That Smell?: Great Salt Lake supports several types of bacteria whose byproduct is rotten-egg-smelling hydrogen sulfide. As bacteria work to decompose organic matter, hydrogen sulfide is expelled and we are assaulted with that unpleasant smell. The worst of the smell is while crossing the Davis County Causeway. Once you reach the island, the smell goes away.
Wildlife: Mammals and birds on the island are sensitive to human disturbance. Please respect the health and safety of wildlife by maintaining a respectful distance. Approaching any animal can be dangerous to the individual and stressful to the animal. Feeding, touching, teasing, molesting or intentionally disturbing any wildlife is prohibited except as approved for authorized hunting (R651-603-5). Disturbing is any activity which causes the animal to change their behavior.
Wildlife, especially bison, may be dangerous. Do not approach bison for any reason.