Utah State Parks Blog

Salt Lake County Man Dead After Drowning at Deer Creek State Park

July 4, 2021

DEER CREEK STATE PARK — A Salt Lake County man is dead after a suspected drowning incident at Deer Creek State Park Saturday. 

On July 3, just after noon, Utah State Parks rangers and members of the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office responded to the boat ramp after receiving reports of a possible drowning. 

The man, 69-year-old Randall Fern, had been canoeing with four other family members when their boats became swamped. Unable to right their canoes, the group decided to swim to shore. 

About 15-feet away from shore, Fern began to struggle to stay above water and was under distress. He was not wearing a life jacket. 

A passerby was able to assist in getting Fern on board their boat and to the boat ramp where first-responders were waiting and worked to revive him. Despite their best efforts, Fern was pronounced dead at the scene. The other family members in the group are uninjured.  

This incident remains under investigation at this time. Utah State Parks expresses our condolences to Fern’s friends and family. 

We would also like to remind those who are venturing into the outdoors to always stay on guard and to make safety a top priority. Always remember to wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Recreate within your ability and set a good example for other recreators and children around you. 

More information about life jackets, highlights of Utah’s boating laws and rules, and additional safety and education information, can be found online at stateparks.utah.gov.

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