By: Dylan Taggart
Taggart falls is a special place. For most of the year it’s a peaceful, quiet spot on the Weber River. As the weather warms up and what was frozen begins to melt, the river awakens. The river rises, pools deepen, the speed increases. By mid May or early June echo dam is ready to send out invitations to those adventurous types that want to play in the river.
The Hen-Tag is the section of the Weber River between Henefer and Taggart. It has become popular with fishermen, rafters, tubers, and kayakers. Adventurous kayakers like Aidan McManus, 16 from park city, and Parker Little, 14 of South Weber, Utah. The 2 young men are capable and responsible boaters. Both tall, and thin they seem to fit into their tiny playboats with ease. A “playboat“ is a kayak that is made of plastic, lightweight, and noticeably shorter than a regular river kayak. Playboats have design features for carving into waves and diving into pools. That is the passion of Aidan and Parker. A wave has formed at Taggart falls and they love spending time practicing many tricks and techniques at that playspot.
Kayaking is a sport with diverse boats, paddlers, and activities. Perhaps there are many kinds of boats that could surf at Taggart falls, playboats seem to be made for it. With the bonus feature of an easily accessible section of river and “dam release” regulated flows, the playspot at Taggart falls could be surfed from mid May to possibly October. An idea that has been talked about by some boaters over the years, is that of a “playpark”.
A playpark or “whitewater park” can be designed on rivers that have the right characteristics. Utah is behind on whitewater recreation development. As people become more surrounded and affected by indoor technology, the desire to be outside will probably increase. States surrounding Utah have invested in river recreation.
Improvements at Taggart falls could be made. Not only could the area be improved, in many people’s mind it is overdue. Morgan county doesn’t even have a dumpster in the area to help prevent litter. No restroom facilities. No road improvements. No designated parking areas. The 1700’s ended long ago and people might want a few more amenities associated with recreation.
A mediocre NFL quarterback could pass a football from the Morgan county line at its eastern boundary to a receiver at the area in summit county called the “put in”. That receiver could then spike the ball in the beautifully graveled parking lot, drink his Gatorade, and use the restroom if needed.
The “put in” is where boaters get in the river to run the hen-Tag. The area is maintained and patrolled by the Utah division of natural resources, and they did it right. The Weber River is valuable to many people for many reasons. The Hen-Tag is worth investing in. Making improvements would beneficial to the ecosystem of the river and safety on the river. It does get busy. The population of people along the hen-Tag wanting to leave their problems behind for a few hours (like Aiden and Parker) explodes on long, hot days. Some improvements at the Taggart “take out” could make a world of difference.
Parker wants to be the best he can be. Aidan wants to compete in big competitions and have people know his name. They want to continue having fun and being happy on the river. They leave their problems behind when practicing.
Every boater I have met agrees that investing in the Taggart falls area would be a good idea.