Antelope Island Balloon and Kite Stampede

Last Saturday morning Jill and I drove the 21 miles to attend the Antelope Island Balloon and Kite Stampede. However, uncooperative winds dictated that no hot air balloons would launch that day. Balloons launched the day before but that didn’t help me get the pictures I wanted. We left but returned in the evening with Steven and his family. Driving over the causeway always reminds me of the flooding that destroyed the original road to the island. More about that later. On the island there was still no balloon launches so we made do with kites, food, music, and test burns.

The Causeway

The Davis County Causeway is a 7.25 mile earthen dike and roadway leading from the mainland to Antelope Island. The original causeway, constructed in 1969 by the State of Utah, was washed out frequently by heavy wave action in the early 70’s but was raised slightly and reopened each time. By 1985 the causeway was completely under water due to the relentless rise of the lake.

As the lake began to recede in the late 80’s the causeway reemerged. It was in poor condition and needed extensive work. Davis County officials together with State Parks personnel lobbied the Utah State Legislature in 1990 for funding to rebuild the causeway so that Antelope Island State Park could again be opened to the public. Eventually the legislature agreed to give the causeway to Davis County along with $4 million for rebuilding and repairs. Another $500,000 was appropriated in 1992 and the County rebuilt the causeway in 1993 for a total cost of $5 million. Davis County charges a $2 per vehicle toll (included in your entrance fee) on the causeway to help pay for ongoing maintenance costs and to set aside a fund to deal with possible future damage should the lake rise again.

[Read more…]