BOUNTIFUL — While members of Utah’s Congressional Delegation push for federal legislation to enhance the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Davis County is working on a measure of its own that involves a significant extension of the popular Northern Utah trail.
The county recently released a notice of intent, disclosing that it would soon be engaging in contract negotiations with Avid Trails LLC, to potentially build 16 miles of new shoreline trail. According to a February request for proposal that was released by the county to solicit bids for the project, the extension of the trail would go from Mueller Park Canyon in Bountiful all the way south to a point meeting the trail as it runs through Salt Lake City.
The extension would crisscross land owned by the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and a full National Environmental Policy Act environmental analysis has already been completed and approved by the U.S. Forest Service.
The single-track, backcountry trail would average 3 to 4 feet in width and would be consistent with USFS standard trail plans and specifications, according to the county’s RFP. The trail would be relatively flat and easy to travel, with average grades of less than 10%. A 10% grade means the trail would rise or fall about 10 feet for every 100 feet hiked horizontally.
The new route would be open for hiking, running, cycling and equestrian usage where appropriate.
The project also would involve the construction of two bridges, one on Mill Creek in Mueller Canyon and another on North Canyon Creek in North Canyon. Davis County would have to obtain permits for stream crossings. While the county knows the bridge crossing locations, there is not yet a design for them and it’s anticipated that a separate bid would be needed for those. The RFP says the county would like construction on the project to begin no later than May 1, weather permitting, with work completed by Dec. 31.
“(The trail) is an awesome feature of Davis County and of course beyond Davis County,” said County Commissioner Lorene Miner Kamalu. “We’re super excited about it.”
Earlier this week, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, announced they had reintroduced a piece of federal legislation that aims to help extend the trail and allow for more uses on certain sections of it. The legislation, which is titled “The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act,” includes a measure to clear more than 300 acres of wilderness area spread over some 20 different locations, allowing for continued construction of the trail and authorizing mountain biking in areas where it’s now considered illegal.
According to bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org, the concept for the trail began in 1990 as a way to provide a widely accessible mountain biking, jogging and walking pathway on the western slopes of the Wasatch Mountains, near the shoreline bench of the lake in Cache, Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties.
Land management adjustments spelled out in the Romney/Curtis bill are necessary to ultimately connect the trail from its southern terminus in Nephi to the Utah/Idaho border in Cache County. A fully connected and completed trail would span 280 miles through Utah. The Davis County section of the trail is approximately 55 miles long, running along the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains.