Davis cities linked through urban trails

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:43 PM

Bryon Saxton

CLEARFIELD — Davis cities developing a network of paved interconnecting urban trails throughout the county have combined for the creation of more than 158 miles of shared paved trails, according to a recently released community assessment.

That total does not include the 300 miles of hiking trails that weave over and through the Wasatch Front mountain range.

The figures are courtesy of a 2013 Community Health Assessment prepared by the Davis County Health Department.

And at the top of the urban trailhead is Farmington with 60 miles of paved trail. That gives the city 117 total trail miles when taking into account unpaved hiking trails, placing it second in the state only to Moab when it comes to total trail miles offered.

It is no accident Farmington, with six mountain streams running through it, tops all Davis cities when it comes to developed trails, said George G. Chipman, city trail master and chairman of the volunteer nine-member Farmington Trails Committee.

It was 20 years ago that city leaders, under the direction of then-Farmington Mayor Greg Bell and the city council, developed a trail master plan with the goal of having a trail within five minutes’ walking distance of every residence in the city, Chipman said.

Currently, the city has developed trails to where they are within 10 minutes’ walking distance of each residence in the city, he said.

The goal of city leaders is to one day have a total of 150 trail miles, Chipman said.

Bell, now Utah’s lieutenant governor, envisioned a walkable community with a continuous trail system being part of that long-range plan, Chipman said.

Part of Bell’s foresight included the creation of the city’s volunteer trails committee, Chipman said.

One of the more popular trails in the city is the 8-mile Farmington Creek Trail, which parallels the creek, taking in a section of the Lagoon amusement park, he said.

“That trail goes from the Legacy Events Center (fairgrounds) to the Sunset Campground (in Farmington Canyon),” Chipman said. “It would take a better part of the day (to walk it).”

The city’s topography — offering the potential to walk from the mountains to the Great Salt Lake — lends itself to developing trails that are popular with the public, Chipman said. Such trails add to the city’s overall quality of life, he said.

And Farmington isn’t the only Davis city developing trails.

Kaysville, with its urban trail system surrounding Wilderness Park to the east, and the trails that meander throughout Utah State University Botanical Gardens just east of the freeway, now has nearly 20.5 miles of shared paved trails throughout its community.

The most popular trail in the city is the 4.2-mile rail trail following the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad corridor, Kaysville City Parks foreman Justin Brimhall said.

The rail trail is so popular with residents, the city maintains it during the winter months by plowing it, Brimhall said.

The 2.5-mile paved trail surrounding Wilderness Park on the east bench, and the Rotary Club Walkway feeding into the different nature trails in the USU Botanical Gardens, are also popular with walkers, Brimhall said.

“I think (trails) just help the community connect from place to place,” he said. “It makes a good connection for people to get off the roads in getting from point A to point B.”

People want something other than to just walk laps around an oval track at a school, Brimhall said.

“It gives people more of a variety,” he said, while they are able to remain close to home.

In the Davis County trail ranking, Centerville ranks third, offering 9.7 miles of shared paved trails, while North Salt Lake ranks fourth with 9.4 miles of paved trail, based on the health department assessment.

Layton city has just more than 8 miles of shared paved trail, with a new urban trail surrounding its downtown area currently in the works.

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