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Flooding in Rock Canyon

In the 1930's the nation as a whole was concerned about flood control. In 1936, Rock Canyon Creek overflowed its banks, creating the worst flooding in many years. After the flood of 1936, the citizens of Provo were alarmed and petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt to purchase the land in Rock Canyon. In 1938, President Roosevelt and the U.S. Government incorporated Rock Canyon into the Uinta Forest Watershed and Fire Control District. Flood control in Rock Canyon became the number one concern. The CCC constructed a road up the canyon and began flood mitigation measures in Rock Canyon. The flood mitigation program helped to re-vegitate the canyon walls. Finally, between 1957 and 1961, the U.S. Forest Service terraced the walls of Cascade Mountain at the head of the canyon. These terraces can be easily seen from the campground. Without these measures, flooding in the canyon would be a more serious threat to the surrounding area.


The most recent episode of flooding was in 1983. After the 1983 floods, the debris basin at the mouth of the canyon was enlarged to guard against further damage to surrounding neighborhoods. Flooding generally occurs in the spring when the winter snows melt too rapidly. This basin has since been landscaped and made into part of Provo’s Rock Canyon Park. Even with the new debris basin, flooding remains a concern for those living at the mouth of the canyon. A walk along the usually dry creek bed at the bottom of the canyon allows a glimpse of the power and destructive nature of the creek during a large flood. Littering the dry stream bed are huge, rounded boulders that have been transported by the stream during flood stage.