Our View: Residents halt trail bill

Friday , March 28, 2014 - 12:49 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

Ogden Canyon residents flexed political muscle this past legislative session and accomplished the demise of a bill that would have allowed the use of eminent domain to build trails by the highway through the canyon.

Whether one agrees with state Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, backing away from the eminent domain bill — and it was lobbied with enthusiasm by Ogden city — it is refreshing to see populist action flex its muscle. That’s called democracy, and we could use a lot more of it.

Bramble’s bill wants to build pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists to get through the canyon. That’s a commendable idea; as of yet there isn’t really a convenient non-motorized trail through Ogden Canyon. But legislators learned this month that you cannot take a bill that deals with the controversial subject of eminent domain, and expect it sail through the Legislature quietly.

Ogden Canyon residents were understandably concerned, and angered, about the threat of government taking their property via eminent domain. After finally talking with canyon residents, Senator Bramble pulled his bill.

Perhaps Keith Rounkles, who lives in the canyon and runs the Oaks Restaurant, put it best when he said, “We love the trails and want them up here. But we want to make it happen in a way that won’t affect people’s property rights.”

We agree, and we’re glad to hear Ogden city Administrator Mark Johnson say that Junction City officials plan to meet with canyon residents and discuss how to get good, safe trails through the canyon that won’t infringe on property rights.

We hope legislators are a part of the meetings, as well as interested groups such as Weber Pathways.

We believe a solution can be found, but it takes time, and the need to get input from many interests, particularly those residents whose property may be affected.

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