FARMINGTON -- Realigning the Bonneville Shoreline Trail through Bountiful and North Salt Lake will be less costly and disruptive than moving development that has pushed up against the historic pathway.
Over time, as Davis County has added to its population, houses have crept up the mountainside to the 5,200-foot elevation, the high-water mark of the ancient Lake Bonneville, the landmark of the trail.
In a few weeks, Davis County plans to send out a request for proposals for environmental work to get an estimate of what it will cost to realign the portion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in the south end of the county, said Director of Planning Barry Burton.
Development has encroached upon and, in some places, topped the historic lake's high-water mark along a stretch of the north-south trail, he said.
"We are looking at ways to take the trail above the (lake level) line. We think it can be done, but we need to get some environmental work on it done," Burton said.
"We are going to have to go quite a ways up (the mountain) to get around all the houses."
The work could involve realigning six to seven miles of trail, he said.
Some of the property through that stretch is privately owned, while other stretches are part of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail currently makes its south-end connection at Bountiful Boulevard, Burton said.
"Bountiful Boulevard is great, but it's a city street with a wide sidewalk. We need to get a trail through there."
The realignment would move the trail above development in that area.
The Bountiful/North Salt Lake area is not the only stretch of trail where development has reached the lake-level mark, Burton said.
In an isolated area in Farmington, development has reached the old shoreline level, he said, but it involves only a small pocket of development that can be worked around.
Most of the Wasatch Front mountainside north of Bountiful remains undeveloped because of the difficulty in building on the steep terrain, Burton said.
"I'm aware of a couple of different spots where we have some issues," Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said of the current trail corridor.
And although the county wants to remain true to the historic lake level, she said, a realigned trail corridor needs to be preserved now and land issues resolved.
"I don't know that we have a lot of money to throw into (the realignment)," Downs said.
However, the county could secure a realignment corridor until funding, whether through grants or private donation, is obtained, she said.
"We want to be prepared and be ready to make application (for those funds)," Downs said of moving the project forward in an effort to preserve a corridor.
Other trail work slated for Davis County involves completing the paving of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Trail between Farmington and Centerville.
Burton said five miles of trail corridor following the old railroad line need to be paved.
That project recently was recommended to receive $500,000 in federal funds from the Wasatch Front Regional Council, he said.
The project, part of the rails-to-trails project to eventually stretch from Weber County to Salt Lake County, is being done under the authority of the Utah Transit Authority, which owns the corridor.
For a listing of all county trails, visit www.co.davis.ut.us/.