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Davis Journal

New trail system gives users more solitude while lightening impact

Aug 31, 2023 01:04PM ● By Becky Ginos
Kate Bradshaw repositions the trail closed sign to discourage bikers from riding trails that are not yet complete.

Kate Bradshaw repositions the trail closed sign to discourage bikers from riding trails that are not yet complete.

BOUNTIFUL—Utah is known for its outdoor recreation and the trails above Bountiful boast the same offerings. It only takes a few minutes and outdoor enthusiasts can be at any one of the beautiful trails spread along the canyons. That’s the problem though – too many people are trying to enjoy the same trails.

“We’re over-loving and overusing them,” said Bountiful City Councilmember Kate Bradshaw. “We want them to not just be in one area but dispersed over several areas.”

That’s the goal behind the city’s Trails Master Plan adopted in 2019, she said. “In 2020 the city bonded to purchase Washington Park and $2 million for trails. In 2021, we won a grant from the Office of Outdoor Recreation for half a million.”

Those combined allowed the city to move forward with a serious plan, Bradshaw said. “We have three crews on three sets of trails. On the Mueller Park Canyon north side we’re building a directional trail from Elephant Rock. We’re working on a Hidden Lake to the Bonneville Shoreline connector above Summerwood and Temple Ridge near the Bountiful Temple.

Bradshaw said they’re working on a directional loop on the Mueller Park trail. “It’s a beautiful trail, well forested and it’s in Bountiful’s backyard but there are blind corners. It causes some friction between users.”

A lot of people go up to the rock and turn around and come back down, she said. “We’re building a loop so you won’t turn around instead you’ll continue onto the new trail. Cyclists will ride counterclockwise on the loop so they won’t encounter others with the blind corners.”

There’s a longer 12 mile loop more advanced hikers can take, said Bradshaw. “It will be a more interconnected loop. For a young family 12 miles is a lot. They’d be doing three to five miles. An avid trail runner might do 20 miles eastward up the canyon and can go north or south to come down.” 

There will be lots of options within the loop, she said. “Signs will tell you how steep, technical or loose and bouldery a trail is. The new trail will be like skiing, with green being the easiest, blue medium and black more expert. It will give options for different degrees of difficulty.”

Some areas are more specific to one use, Bradshaw said. “Holbrook and Temple Ridge are more for horses. There are Jeep roads and some for ATV use. The plan envisions something for hikers, trail runners, bikes and ATV enthusiasts – pieces for each user group.”

The city is working with the Forest Service, she said. “We go through them on the environmental process to make sure we’re not disrupting plant species or possible Native American ruins and protecting the hillside from erosion during construction.”

Crews will cut into the hillside to make sure it’s really stable, said Bradshaw. “Old trails are not built like they are today. There have been some erosion issues. The trail by the ‘B’ has been sliding. It’s not built in the way in which we’re building now.”

As part of the project, they’ll be building a trailhead at the top of North Canyon, she said. “We’re combining city and county funds with the federal grant for improvement in that neighborhood.”

The street just ends, Bradshaw said. “The new construction will include a cul-de-sac for emergency vehicles to turn around. You’d have to be very skilled at turning around a horse trailer (up there right now). There will be pull through parking and a spot for horse trailers. There are horse trailers lined up the street in front of houses. It makes it pretty tough for residents.”

The city is building 22 miles of new trail across six areas that have been identified, she said. “We got a later start than we would have liked because there was still snow on the mountain that went long into June. Some elements will be done before snow flies. Some will open next year in 2024.”

As the trails are built they will be named and have coordinated signage, said Bradshaw. “It will say what is green, blue, black and what the connectors are.”

Back into the mountain is densely forested and really lush, she said. “Even into late August. I almost don’t want to tell anyone it’s so great or everyone will want to come.”

It’s exciting, said Bradshaw. “We’ve loved Mueller Park to death. We need to spread ourselves out more so everyone can enjoy the mountain and have more solitude and lighter impact.”

It’s one of those projects the city is really proud of, she said. “It has long-term benefits that will add to our wellness and well-being for many, many decades to come.”