By Dave Iltis
After close to five years, Salt Lake County has completed the Parley’s Canyon Trail Feasibility Study. The Parley’s Canyon Trail was conceived by Gordon Stam in approximately 2006. Several years later, Mr. Stam convinced Salt Lake County to pursue the study, at a cost of $75,000. The study was recently finalized.
The study looks at options for connecting Salt Lake County with Summit County in Parley’s Canyon. The basic connection would run from the Mountain Dell exit (SR-65) on I-80 to Parley’s Summit. The paved trail would serve as a transportation and recreation corridor. Cyclists could ride up Emigration, and then on the Parley’s Canyon Trail to get to Summit County, thus avoiding riding on I-80. In the winter, the trail could potentially serve as a cross country ski trail. From Parley’s Summit, the south frontage road is a good option to connect to Park City and Kimball Junction.
The ten foot wide paved trail would most likely start out on the north side of the freeway at Mountain Dell, and continue to approximately the Lamb’s Canyon exit. From there, it would cross the freeway in one of four manners: 1. A bike-pedestrian bridge over I-80 2. A tunnel under I-80 3. Utilizing the Lamb’s Canyon interchange, and then cutting a new trail on the south side of I-80. 4. Constructing a roadway bridge on I-80.
The four options have various benefits and drawbacks. Costs for the entire trail would, for each option, be: 1. $8.8 million 2. $9.6 million 3. $13.7 million. 4. $16 million.
Funding sources have not been identified yet.
The Parley’s Canyon Trail is part of a partially developed trail system called the Wasatch Loop Trail. The WLT, as envisioned, would be a 230 figure-8 loop with the Legacy Parkway and Jordan River Parkway on the Wasatch Front and the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail on the Wasatch Back forming the vertical bars of the ‘8’. Ogden or Weber Canyon, Parley’s Canyon, and Provo Canyon would form the cross bars of the ‘8’. The trail would have significant recreational cycling and economic development potential.
Approximately half or more of the seven-county Wasatch Loop Trail is complete as of 2014. However, significant challenges remain. The completion of the Parley’s Canyon Trail Study is a huge step forward in the planning of the trail system.
[Note: Cycling Utah helped to shepherd through the Parley’s Canyon Trail Study. We plan to work on the Wasatch Loop Trail as well.]
For more information on the Parley’s Canyon Trail and the Wasatch Loop Trail, and to read the study, visit: http://slco.org/recreation/planning/html/Parleys_Canyon.html