Trail puts Utah cities in elite group

Fifteen minutes ago I was at my desk. Now, I'm riding up a mountain trail with not a person in sight. Welcome to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail!

Cities along the Wasatch Front from Ogden to Nephi have worked in cooperation to join an elite group of states that have an urban-interface trail system. This means urban recreationists (bikers, hikers) will have easy access to a system of trails without driving long distances to get there.

Five years ago, a group of people had an idea to build a trail along the ancient Lake Bonneville shoreline, also called the foothill benches. The initial segment went in behind the University of Utah with an access point at the This Is The Place State Park (just north of Hogle Zoo).

With the help of a generous grant from the Steiner Foundation and matching grants from Salt Lake City and the State of Utah, the Steiner-Centennial Section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail was born.

This section goes from the Davis Co. line to Emigration Canyon. It is anticipated the Steiner-Centennial Section will be completed the summer of 1998 providing approximately 11 miles of beautiful views, remote foothill trails and guaranteed fun.

Although a large part of the trail from Emigration to Parley's Canyon is signed on the roads, a mountain route from the H rock to Parley's is currently being discussed with area residents.

The route through the unincorporated part of Salt Lake County will be the next big job. This will connect with ongoing work and already completed sections by Sandy City and Draper. Continuing the trail across Traverse Mountain, we get to Utah County.

Utah County and its' multiple jurisdictions worked with the Mountainlands Association of Governments to make a master plan for the Utah County route. On National Trails Day 1996, Provo City had a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rock Canyon Trailhead. These groups are now in the process of collecting funds and gathering volunteers to begin building the trail.

Weber County and the ogden Trails Network have made tremendous progress on their section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Davis County is in the process of planning their route.

Under the direction of the experienced Forest Service trail crews, hundreds of volunteers in every county have put in thousands of hours constructing trail. Other volunteers have formed groups to tackle a particular task such as crossing major impediments like Parley's Canyon. The Parley's Crossing Project has raised $2 million to construct two bridges across Parley's Canyon to provide the vital link for the north and south sections of the BST. This will be a great commuter route for those citizens from the south end of the valley to all points north.

The completed BST will be an approximately 90-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail providing recreational and commuter opportunities for a large segment of the Wasatch Front population.

If open space and recreational trails are to become a reality, the active involvement of dedicated citizens is critically important. The miles of new foothill trail we now enjoy have required a great deal of volunteer labor, donated money, advocacy and organization. If you are interested in construction parts of the trail, adding your voice to speak in support of the trail, assist in developing tail etiquette or helping to maintain the trail, please call Marv and Kathleen Stoddard at 485-6975 or Michael Dee at the Forest Service office 943-3624.

This story by Kathleen Stoddard, Marv Stoddard Co Chairs Construction Committee and Brett Smith Construction Committee.