BOULDER, Colorado (December 23, 2022) — The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act (BSTAA) has passed through Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden on December 23, 2022. The BSTAA furthers the long-distance dream for the famed Bonneville Shoreline Trail while bringing more trails close to home in Utah’s growing Salt Lake Valley. The law adjusts land management boundaries to increase trail connectivity along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which passes through dozens of communities and will eventually stretch 280 miles from the Idaho border to Nephi, Utah.
“This is a monumental and historic day for trails and mountain biking! The BSTAA has been led by mountain bikers and its passage is the culmination of years of hard work, relationship building, and collaboration. We’re stoked. This will help complete the long-awaited Bonneville Shoreline Trail and bring both long-distance opportunities and more trails close to home to residents of the Salt Lake Valley,” said David Wiens, Executive Director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
IMBA worked closely with Representative John Curtis (R-UT), Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee, and Trails Utah to introduce the BSTAA in July 2020 and again in March 2021. IMBA has been involved in the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for more than two decades, working with local stakeholders in the planning and development of the trail.
“The Bonneville Shoreline Trail provides great outdoor recreational opportunities for Utahns, but several wilderness-designated areas along the trail are hampering full use of the trail,” said Senator Mitt Romney. “I’m proud that our legislation has made it across the finish line so that the trail can finally be completed, and that generation after generation will be able to enjoy the beauty of Utah’s surrounding landscape.”
“With the rapid growth in and around Salt Lake City, it is more important than ever to support new recreation opportunities such as the Bonneville Shoreline Trail,” said Representative John Curtis. “As someone who loves walking and biking this trail, I am excited to bring greater access to more Utahns and proud to see this expansion pass into law.”
The bill’s passage is tremendous for outdoor recreation advocates. It sets an encouraging precedent for communities eager for trails that need to pursue legislation to gain land access.
“The Bonneville Shoreline Trail will now reach its full potential as a jewel of Utah’s outdoor recreation infrastructure for all to enjoy for generations to come. This accomplishment is a fantastic example of elected officials, government staff, business leaders, local citizens, and non-profit organizations working together to achieve a shared goal,” said Todd Keller, IMBA Director of Government Affairs. “Special thank you goes to Representative Curtis and Senator Romney for their continued leadership. We look forward to continued collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service as it implements these changes.”
“The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee is excited to hear that the International Mountain Bike Association finally got the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act adopted by the U.S. Congress. The BSTAA will speed trail construction by allowing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to be built with mechanized equipment and will also allow for shared trail use with mountain bike access. This is a great example by IMBA to show that strategic wilderness adjustments for mountain bike access can be made on a case-by-case basis rather than allowing bikes in all Wilderness areas. The BSTAA will also be a step forward toward full implementation of the Mountain Accord In Utah's central Wasatch. Thanks also of course to Senator Romney and Representative Curtis!” said John Knoblock with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee.
“Trails Utah is elated with the news that the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act has now passed both the House and Senate to become law, and applauds Congressman Curtis and Senator Romney for their contributions to moving it forward. This pioneering legislation celebrates and protects one of the most important regional trails in the state and helps create a standard for management that will best serve a variety of outdoor recreators as well as the integrity of the landscape and natural environment for generations to come. Trails are essential to our healthy, active way of life in Utah, and it is outstanding to see access to this incredibly valuable asset to our communities enshrined with this legislation,” said Sarah Bennett, Executive Director of Trails Utah.
To date, more than a hundred miles of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail has been built. IMBA will continue working with its partners in the Salt Lake Valley on the implementation of the BSTAA.
Small segments of overlapping Wilderness designations prohibit biking on parts of the planned Bonneville Shoreline Trail, preventing the full vision for a shared-use trail that connects six counties and more than one million residents in the Salt Lake Valley. The BSTAA releases 326 acres of Wilderness divided over more than 20 locations, to accommodate trail connections and sustainable trail development near population centers. The bill designates 326 acres of contiguous new Wilderness in Mill Creek Canyon to ensure land area for wilderness remains the same.
Find more information and maps on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act at imba.com/bst-advancement-act. For more history on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, enjoy a three-part series highlighting the vision and trail champions advocating for the trail, decades of trail planning that brought neighboring communities together, and the relationship building behind the bill’s introduction and eventual passage.