“The construction issue, the actual implementation of the trails, I don’t think anyone knew it would be as shoddily done as it was, The board was moderately involved in the planning, but all we ever did was give feedback. We didn’t participate in planning sessions, so it was hard to know that it was going to be so bike-centric.”-Polly Hart, Parks, Natural Lands, Urban Forestry, and Trails (PNUT) Advisory Board Member
The hiking trails around the Foothills of Salt Lake City provide some of the best scenic city views you can find in all of North America. The trails mostly consist of user-generated hikes and old maintenance roads. According to the Salt Lake Tribune though, the hiking trails that have recently been sculpted via a master plan from the city are far from perfect, and the locals are letting city officials know about it.
Here are some of the important points of the article:
- Mountain Bike Bias: “Users complain that the new paths have such gradual inclines that it’s apparent they were designed for bikers, not hikers and trail runners.”
- Trail Quality: Parts of the new trails have been either eroded, sloughed, or washed out.
- Erosion: “Once we have snow, and everything freezes and thaws, the trails will have major erosion issues. They’ll get washed out. The moment you put a bike on it, major ruts will occur. Banks will be destroyed.”– Eric Edelman, SLC resident who studies soil mechanics.
- Beloved trails scrapped: Many one-hundred-year trails along the ridgeline have been decommissioned. Trails were closed for being environmentally unsustainable, but locals claim that the mellow history of the trails proves otherwise. One beloved trail in the Morris Meadows area was turned into an ugly zigzag that isn’t even enjoyable for mountain bikers.
- City Board has been unhelpful in spite of a multitude of complaints: “Hart said members of the public have been showing up to their monthly meetings to complain about the new trails since the spring. But she said it doesn’t appear that the Public Lands Department is taking the feedback seriously, including complaints coming directly from the board.”
- Many organizations were not consulted: Save Our Canyons(a top Utah environmental organization) and Millcreek FIDOS (an off-the-leash dog advocacy group) were not asked for their inputs on the master plan.
- Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall Faces Criticism: “The Tribune requested comment from the Public Lands Department and Mayor Erin Mendenhall for this story. In response, a spokesperson for the administration directed the newspaper to a July tweet from the mayor encouraging residents to take a survey about the trail system. In an attached video, the mayor noted she had placed a stop-work order on trail work until October while the city reassesses its plan.”
Salt Lake City’s trails hold a great deal of meaning for many people. We’re committed to keeping these public lands open while also protecting them as the irreplaceable spaces they are. Your input is vital. Please take this survey: https://t.co/f97KBCegQy pic.twitter.com/6oOLWWYKEq
— Mayor Erin Mendenhall (@slcmayor) July 12, 2021
Have you tried any of the new trails in the Foothills? If so, what do you think of them?