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New ‘swimmers only’ area planned for Pineview Reservoir


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PINEVIEW RESERVOIR, Weber County — It won't be long before the temperatures heat up, bringing thousands of people to Pineview Reservoir.

“We don’t want to push any one user out of the way in order to accommodate mostly for one,” said Robert Sanchez, ranger for the U.S. Forest Service's Ogden District.

But, as Sanchez pointed out, the demand for a safe, open swim area is big — especially in the long-lasting wake of one swimmer's death in 2011.

Esther Fujimoto, an avid swimmer and accomplished molecular biologist at the University of Utah, was hit and killed by a boat Aug. 21 while swimming 200 to 300 feet offshore. Witnesses reported three men in the boat stopped and appeared to talk to Fujimoto shortly after the accident but then drove off and did not return.

A nearby resident summoned emergency responders, but Fujimoto died before they could bring her to shore. The occupants of the boat that hit her were eventually found and prosecuted.

“I think all of us became a little bit more aware of the potential conflict (after her death). “We always knew it was there, but it became more real after that happened,” said Mark Miller, who is part of an area triathlete group.

Miller said he and several others started pushing for the idea of separate swimming and boating areas several years ago. Right now, there’s no safe area for athletes to train at the reservoir, he said.

“People tend to swim the no-wake buoys in Pineview, and the unfortunate part about that is that’s a very dangerous zone,” Miller said.

The open swim area will go into the west side of the lake, near Ogden Canyon. After funds are secured, buoys would go in first, followed by a changing dock and concrete path, each within a couple of years afterward.

The hope is that by putting the swimming area on the west side, it will still have the “open water feel” you get on many other parts of the reservoir without having to disrupt the boaters too much.

Between area governments, residents and people who use the reservoir, Sanchez said several groups seem to agree on the plans for now.

“We’re seeing more and more people out there,” he said. “And so being able to provide a safe, open swim area at Pineview was of high concern for us.”

Contributing: Jordan Ormond

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