City living in unusually close proximity to fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities has been a major selling point of Ogden in recent years as the city tries to redefine itself as a haven for outdoor lovers.
It's also a primary reason why I have stayed here for the past seven and a half years. Two world-class ski resorts sit within a 20-mile drive from my home (OK, Powder Mountain is actually 21.3 miles away); nearby fishing is abundant and diverse, as is the rest of the wildlife; and the surrounding geography is stunningly varied, with high-mountain peaks and forests to the east and north; and vast, colorful deserts to the west and south.
Oh, and there's a gateway to a growing network of hiking, biking and equestrian trails just three blocks from my front door in northeast Ogden. Of course, I'm talking about the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
One piece at a time, advocates of trails in Northern Utah are realizing a vision of building a pathway that will extend from southern Utah County to the Idaho border north of Logan.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is currently comprised of about 90 miles of trails bisecting a complex mix of lands controlled by varying interests. Sometimes those interests come into conflict with each other, but the signs of two decades of diligent work and cooperation are really starting to show.
The trail is so named because it loosely follows the ancient shoreline of Lake Bonneville, which filled the Great Basin during the last Ice Age, including the locations of our present-day Wasatch Front communities. Observers both casual and keen can see evidence of this once-massive body of water in the geological features found along and near the trail.
Major east-west running roads and railways present significant, if not insurmountable obstacles to a continuous pathway, so the vision for the trail is actually an "urban interface" system -- a mixture of trail segments and connecting roads. Still, when complete, it should offer hikers and bikers the opportunity to go from one end to the other without having to play Frogger across Utah's busy highways.
As currently planned, the completed trail system would encompass 280 miles of trails and connecting roads. It would stretch from the Idaho border along the eastern edge of Cache Valley to the southern terminus of the Wasatch Front near Santaquin.
Existing segments have been planned, adopted, and implemented piecemeal within each political jurisdiction, usually by a city or a county. There is no entire trail-wide organization at this point, although a trail committee, headquartered in Salt Lake City, was established in 1991 to promote construction along the entire length of the trail. The BST Committee's financial and labor resources were concentrated on the successful development of the 15-mile-long Salt Lake City segment, which was largely completed in 1999.
Weber and Davis counties sit squarely in the middle of the overall trail route, where the nonprofit Weber Pathways is among the most active groups working to maintain and expand the trail.
Volunteers for Weber Pathways regularly get out to work on the trail, putting their money (or at least time and sweat) where their mouths are as they advocate the trail's expansion and improvement.
If you would like to contribute time, effort and/or money to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a resource that will surely benefit many generations to come in our local communities, give Weber Pathways a call at (801) 393-2304 or drop them an e-mail at email@example.com.
You can also sign up to volunteer on the trail's official Web site, www.bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org.
There's still plenty of work to be done, but momentum is growing along with the popularity of this unique urban-interface trail system. Its proximity to our cities and towns makes it an attractive option, even for the busiest family or most casual outdoor recreationist.
Jeff DeMoss is the outdoors editor and reporter for the Standard-Examiner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 625-4263.