WILLARD BAY, Utah (ABC4) — After years of below-average winters, lake goers are being greeted with a pleasant change. Willard Bay is full for the first time in nine years, and its shores are filling quickly with people who want to take advantage of all the fresh water.   

Before the Greding family could hit the lake, they had to wait about an hour in a line full of vehicles pulling boats. Everyone in line was taking advantage of the holiday and launching their boats at Willard Bay State Park South Marina.  

“We like to come hang out, take the boat out. Just, spend time with family,” Nadia Greding told ABC4 as she and her siblings sat on their boat while they waited for the line into the park to clear.   

The family lives in Davis County and visits Willard Bay regularly. “It’s a really big lake so it’s nice because there’s lots of room,” Nadia stated. “We love the view of the mountains.” Nadia’s sister, Kessa, added: “It’s warmer than other lakes and it’s pretty clear water.”  

Like the thousands of lake goers, they were welcomed with something they haven’t seen in years.  

It’s been about nine years since the reservoir has been filled, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District CEO Scott Paxman.

Willard Bay is just one of many reservoirs under the conservancy district that is used to provide secondary water to thousands of people in the area. According to Paxman, this spring is a completely different story from last spring.

Towards the end of last winter, they were worried the reservoirs would barely have enough water for drinking water, let alone secondary water. But this year, he said, “We’ve got record snow, record-high river flows, at flood stage at many of them, it’s just such a change. It’s tough to get a handle on.”   

When full, the lake covers nearly 10,000 acres and provides much-needed water to surrounding communities during the summer. 

Willard Bay State Park is a man-made reservoir that dates back to the 1960s and 60 years later it continues to serve as a crucial role for storing water. Not only that, but it serves another crucial role: providing outdoor recreation opportunities for Utahans. A role that many families love.  

Last summer, people across the state, including those who rely on Willard Bay, adhered to strict water limitations to conserve as much water as possible during the drought. By the end of last summer, water levels dropped so low that the Greding family, and many other lake enthusiasts, had a hard time even launching their boat. 

However, the thousands of Memorial Day visitors had something to rejoice about as the lake seemed to stretch out as far as the eye could see.  

“It’s crazy how much more water is in it this year, especially at the docks,” Nadia stated.