Ephraim Canyon is home to multiple recreational activities. Camping, snowmobiling, snowboarding, and hiking are just some of the things that the people of Sanpete County can enjoy. However, the canyon is full of twists and sharp bends that riders and drivers cannot see around.
In January of last year, there was an accident in the canyon that took a 23-year-old’s life. He was sledding down the canyon and collided with a truck and trailer on the side of the road. The young man didn’t make the turn and hit the trailer. Dave Welsh, who has been a Search and Rescue officer for seven years stated, “It’s been a quiet year. People are being more careful when they head up the canyon.”
This time of year is a time for snowmobiling and avalanches. He declared, “The smartest thing kids can do before they go up the canyon is to 1) Make sure the vehicle is registered. Whether it is a snowmobile, four-wheeler, or car it needs to be registered. 2) Never go alone. Always take somebody along. 3) Let somebody staying in Ephraim know where YOU will be going and when YOU plan to be back. 4) Stay on the trails. 5) In the event of emergency and if cell service is available, call 911. If we can get a call from up in the mountains, we can pinpoint their location by five feet.”
Avalanches can be frightening and even fatal, but if students are careful and understand what’s going on around them, they won’t get stuck in one. Dave Welsh suggested three ways to avoid avalanches. The first is to educate oneself about avalanches. The Forest Service has prepared a brochure. It is available at their office, which is located at the North end of town. Second is to take an avalanche awareness class and know when and where an avalanche can occur. Lastly,students should look up the state website avalanche forecast, type in the place they are planning to explore, and it will show the likelihood of an avalanche in the place in question. It is important to know the dangers of the canyon before going out blind to have fun.
For more information to understand the severity of avalanches go to www.utahavalanchecenter.org and go to the Forest Service and ask about the brochure.