A December press release from Energy Loop coordinator Jana Abrams promised that Castle Valley winter sports enthusiasts will have an easier time enjoying the "greatest snow on earth."
The year 2008 marks the completion of two one-acre parking lots at the Big Drift area at the top of Huntington Canyon, an expansion of the Fairview parking area.
According to Abrams, the areas were built to accommodate the large numbers of vehicles on the byway from visitors who like to snowkite and snowmobile.
"The Big Drift south parking lot also includes a double vault restroom and a newly installed beacon basin," pointed out Abrams.
The beacon basin is located on the west end of the Big Drift south parking lot and is used to practice avalanche rescue skills to be used in case of an avalanche.
"The site of the Beacon Basin has been named Beacon Training Park," said Abrams. "This project was a partnership between the Mani-LaSal National Forest Service office, federal highway administration, the Utah Department of Transportation, XTO Energy and the Castle Country Travel Region."
Completed along with the parking lot was a kiosk project telling the story of the mammoth which was found in the park in 1988.
"The covered kiosk sits next to the actual site of the mammoth excavation and is nestled in the quakies and pines to the south of the parking lot that services Mammoth Reservoir," said Abrams. "Low wattage radio towers have been installed in Huntington and Fairview to alert visitors to the byway and about the road and recreation information."
The final project completed was the construction of the new boat ramp along with paving the access road to and from the boat ramp at Mammoth Reservoir.
According to Abrams the byways are a road for all seasons. Along the byway, visitors will find informational kiosks and displays at major points of interest.
Each stop has a turnout and parking, giving travelers a chance to stretch and enjoy the scenery, while learning some of the region's history, natural history, environmental resources and other features.
The byway offers many opportunities, including:
Camping, picnicking, fishing and hunting.
Hiking, biking and boating.
ATV and equestrian.
Photo and sight-seeing opportunities.
Snowboarding and snowkiting.
Ice fishing and cross country skiing.
Two avalanche training sessions are being conducted at the Beacon Training Park in January. The first was Jan. 5 and, according to Abrams, it was a great success.
The second is a two-day avalanche workshop sponsored by Carbon County Recreation on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19.
According to Abrams, the training sessions are being taught by leading U.S. Forest Service back county educator Max Forgensi. The sessions are free to the public.
For more information, local residents may contact Carbon County Recreation.