Controversy Surrounds Salt Lake City's Trail System Expansion

Controversy Surrounds Salt Lake City's Trail System Expansion

Biking

Controversy Surrounds Salt Lake City's Trail System Expansion

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The explosion of outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been well-documented. Mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and dog walkers have all noticed a substantial uptick in traffic on the trails. This has led to increased trail conflict and needs to come up with creative solutions to alleviate the strain on the trails.

Luckily, Salt Lake City introduced a comprehensive plan for the Foothills Natural Area several years ago. The timing of the project just so happened to overlap with the COVID-19 pandemic. This put the city ahead of the eightball when demand spiked as they already had the project underway.  Unfortunately, the project has been put on hold due to public outcry.

According to an article from KSL News Radio, the Foothills Trails project has officially been put on hold until June 2022. Critics of this project state that they believe some trail construction has deviated from the master plan. In addition, some believe the project prioritizes mountain bikers over other trail users. Advocates for the plan state that mountain bikers are the fastest-growing user group in the area. The expansion of the 65-mile network will offer more directional trails to reduce conflict.

There have also been considerations for Indigenous people who view this parcel of land as sacred.

Officials will work through these concerns this winter and attempt to find solutions that will allow them to continue the project.

Images from: Bike Utah Facebook Page, Salt Lake Valley Trails Society Facebook Page, City of Salt Lake City

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