UINTAH — The dream of completing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is advancing with a flurry of projects in Weber and Davis counties.
Of Weber’s approximately 27 miles on the trail map, about 24 have been developed already, and work is being done on the final legs in Uintah and on to South Weber.
In Davis County, an environmental study is under way as part of a county and U.S. Forest Service project to finish the 39 miles of Bonneville trail envisioned there.
As closely as possible, the route is intended to follow the western slopes of the Wasatch range along the bench formed by ancient Lake Bonneville. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Coalition says it one day hopes to have 280 miles of designated trail from the Idaho border to Nephi.
About 100 miles of the trail has been completed and formally designated, according to the coalition. Walkers, runners, hikers, bicyclists and equestrians use the paths.
“It’s definitely a nice amenity close to the growing population that allows people to reset from their business day and enjoy being outside,” said Mark Benigni, executive director of Weber Pathways.
In percentage of trail completed, Weber County has had about the most success to date, he said.
Weber’s section of the Bonneville trail is largely complete from the Box Elder County line near Pleasant View to Beus Canyon east of South Ogden.
“So far we were fortunate who owned the land and it didn’t get developed as fast as it did in Salt Lake County,” Benigni said.
In Salt Lake and parts of Davis County, portions of the ideal trail path were swallowed up by development before the Bonneville trail concept was born in 1990.
“And Davis County might have more challenges with the steepness of their terrain,” Benigni said.
The Bonneville trail’s course follows Skyline Drive and through a pedestrian underpass beneath U.S. 89.
From there, the focus will be to build out the trail to link up to the northern part of the Davis leg in South Weber.
First, on the east end of Washington Heights Church’s parking lot, a dirt trail drops down to Uintah by the railroad tracks.
“Then there’s a farmer’s tunnel under the railroad tracks,” Benigni said.
The next leg is planned to go through the area of the Uintah business park and cross the Weber River beneath Interstate 84. Davis County’s work begins there, at Fishermen’s Point trailhead.
The Utah Legislature in 2016 allocated $150,000 for an environmental study of the additional trail sections from South Weber to Bountiful in Davis County.
A Forest Service summary of the Davis project says 21 miles of the finished Bonneville trail will be on federal land. The other 18 miles are on private property or municipal or other non-federal lands.
Nineteen miles of trail will be new construction, where no trail has existed, and the other 20 will be rebuilt or realigned.
The project plan says work could begin before the end of 2019 and last until 2023.