Low water levels uncover old cars in Hyrum reservoir

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HYRUM, Utah – What looks like a graveyard of old cars appears along the shore of the Hyrum Reservoir.

The low water levels revealed more than a dozen cars that officials said were thrown there in the 1950s to help shore up the reservoir.

“The old frames are more visible now, but they start to appear as soon as the water starts to drop,” said Chris Bradshaw, manager of Hyrum Reservoir State Park.

Bradshaw said he has seen those old 1950s car hulls for years, adding that they were placed there around that time, for a practical purpose in mind beyond just throwing them away.

“I understand I don’t know the exact day, but in the 1950s they put a lot of these cars on the north shore to help stabilize that shore,” Bradshaw said.

It’s not exactly a high tech solution by today’s standards. And while some people would like to see the cars cleaned, it could cause problems for the geography of the area.

Chris Bradshaw, Director of Hyrum Reservoir State Park. (Mike Anderson / KSL TV)

“If they moved them, it could destabilize the bank,” Bradshaw said. “There are new houses that are being built on top of the current location of the cars, so it can cause them problems if they move them at this point.”

In fact, this same thing was done along the Blacksmith Fork River for the same reason.

About 80 cars were removed from the river as part of a restoration project in 2013.

(Mike Anderson / KSL TV)

The cost at the time to do so safely was around $ 10 million. But if it’s any consolation, it’s unlikely that an engineer will use this method again to strengthen a shore.

“I wouldn’t imagine they would do that today, no,” Bradshaw said.

The Hyrum Reservoir is used entirely for irrigating farmers, so Bradshaw said it’s not unusual for this pile of cars to show up at this time of year.

Some of those on the north side are higher on the embankment.

“Over the years a few of them have dropped below the high water mark and to varying degrees they show up when the water drops,” Bradshaw said. “All the inhabitants, all the fishermen know that it is there. They call it the car pile. It is a landmark for fishing, really… a habitat when the water rises to the bottom.


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