Rock Cliff Nature Center Celebrates Remodel
November 3, 2021
JORDANELLE STATE PARK — Exciting news from Rock Cliff Nature Center! A ceremony was held Tuesday, November 2, 2021, to celebrate the Nature Center’s recent upgrades and remodel.
Utah State Parks staff joined Wasatch Mountain Institute, along with partners from The Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, The Recreational Trails Program, Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program, and Enyo Renewable Energy to recognize the efforts of all involved in the project.
The Rock Cliff Nature Center has been closed for a number of years due to flooding events. The dream to bring it back to life began when Wasatch Mountain Institute was awarded a trio of grants. The Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation’s Recreation Restoration Infrastructure Grants (RRI) are awarded to restore high-use/high-priority trails or repair/replace other types of developed recreation infrastructure on public lands. The funds made it possible to restore the boardwalk trail that runs from the parking lot to the Nature Center and the surrounding pond area. In addition, the handrails were sandblasted, a protective berm was installed to protect against future flooding, and Dark Sky lighting was installed.
A grant awarded through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) aided in the creation of a “trailhead hub” for all the different recreational opportunities available in the area. RTP grants are awarded for recreational trail and facility improvements and are available for non-motorized and motorized trail projects.
“I suspect that everybody across the state has probably actively engaged in an RTP-awarded trail,” Chris Haller, Recreational Trails Program Grant Administrator noted. “The Rock Cliff Nature Center project is a wonderful example of not only two different government agencies collectively coming together, but also the private sector coming together and being willing to say ‘Hey, we’re willing to help champion this cause’.”
With an additional grant from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program, solar panels were installed on the roof of the Nature Center. The solar panels will provide nearly all of the energy that is needed to power it year-round. Blue Sky allows customers to match their energy usage with the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs). In Utah, about 52,000 customers participate in Blue Sky. To participate, customers select the amount of renewable energy they want to support, then pay that extra amount on their monthly bill.
“Blue Sky carefully selects projects every year to fund through a competitive process. They select projects that rank highest on cost-effectiveness, potential community impact, and their commitment to renewable energy, education, and support,” shared Rocky Mountain Power’s Regional Business Manager, Lisa Romney.
Enyo Renewable Energy, a wind and solar development company specializing in developing utility-scale renewable energy projects, provided a matching grant for the solar panels. “Blue Sky really is the program that kicks us to that renewable energy future, and Wasatch Mountain Institute is is the organization that’s going to kick-off environmental education,” remarked Principal for Enyo Renewable Energy, Christine Mikell.
The mission of Wasatch Mountain Institute is to connect children, their families, and their communities to the wonder and the recreational opportunities available in the Wasatch Mountains. Through the power of hard work and these generous grants, Field Programs at Rock Cliff Nature Center were able to begin running this fall. Career biologists, guides, naturalists, and educators are opening new worlds of exploration and learning to students from schools across the region.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to be outdoors and to learn from time outdoors. We are all connected to each other and our communities are better for that,” commented Hilary Lambert, CEO of Wasatch Mountain Institue.
In addition to all of the updates that have already taken place at Rock Cliff Nature Center, Jason Whitaker, Jordanelle State Park Manager, shared some news about even more upcoming improvements and upgrades to the nearby campground on the south side. Two bridges will be added, allowing access from the Nature Center to the campground. Approximately 50 campsites will be installed—some with full hook-ups, some for small vans and RVs, along with tent-only hike-in sites, a laundry facility, and a brand new entrance. Tentative plans have been drawn up and engineers are currently working to finalize things.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody that was involved in making this happen, because I think this is a spectacular opportunity that’s really been very underutilized—and it’s going to be so much more,” shared Utah State Parks Director Jeff Rasmussen.
The Rock Cliff Nature Center is currently closed for the season. It will reopen in the spring of 2022 for all to enjoy!
Watch the video below to see more about the exciting improvements made to Rock Cliff Nature Center.