Happy Trails | Urban Living

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Happy Trails

Posted By on March 28, 2018, 11:00 AM

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I love taking new clients up to the Capitol to show them the view of the entire Salt Lake Valley. You have to admit, it's a breathtaking vista (when there's no smog/inversion). Our bowl of a valley used to be a prehistoric lake that dried up a bazillion years ago, with only the dregs (aka Great Salt Lake) left today. What's super cool is that you can see the ancient Bonneville shoreline all the way around the foothills, from the Wasatch range to the east and the Oquirrh range to the west. And if you walk that trail and pay attention, you can find fossils of long-gone trilobites, flora and fauna. I have found several groovy rocks by the concrete U above the University of Utah.

For some time, residents have been working with city and county officials to complete the Bonneville Shoreline Trail along the east bench. This ambitious trail will one day stretch more than 280 miles from the Idaho border to Nephi (go to bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org to see the full map and proposed works). Trails like this improve life in so many ways and, frankly, add to property values. And recreationists want easy access to them.

According to a December 2017 press release from the Salt Lake City Trails & Natural Lands program, "There are nearly 100 miles of 'trails' in the Salt Lake City foothills, all of which will be considered by a proposed Foothill Trail System Plan. Of all these trails, only the Bonneville Shoreline Trail was professionally constructed with the intent of non-motorized recreation."

Many existing trails in the foothills are unsustainable due to steep grades, widespread soil erosion and costly maintenance challenges. Trailhead, wayfinding and regulatory signage is virtually absent. Lack of coherent trail design has created a system of trails that is unapproachable to many entry-level trail users, and that becomes increasingly prone to user-conflicts as use increases," the release continues. "Once approved, the Foothill Trail System Plan will mitigate user confusion, promote connectivity with the city's alternative transportation networks, and minimize environmental issues (including challenges in protected watershed areas)."

The 10-year timeline for the project will apply to the benches between Emigration Canyon and the southern boundary of Davis County.

If you want more information on the Foothill Trail System, there's a public meeting coming up at the Sweet Branch Library on April 2 from 6-8 p.m. You can also see details at slcgov.com/trailsplan.

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