NORTH OGDEN — A busy section of one of the state’s most popular mountain trails has received a significant upgrade.
Last month, the Trails Foundation of Northern Utah completed a repair of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail near the North Ogden divide. Aric Manning, the group’s executive director, said the segment of the trail, which runs from the Box Elder/Weber County border to the divide road in North Ogden, is heavily used by hikers and mountain bikers but has degraded over the past several years.
A steep segment as the pathway nears the divide had been sloughing off of the mountainside, making it difficult to navigate.
“It’s been on our radar for quite a while now,” Manning said. “It’s a unique section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It’s not all exposed, so you’ve some good cover and it’s just different than a lot of other trails in the area. But use has picked up quite a bit over the years. You’ve got all that development happening up in the foothills of North Ogden and now, there’s a lot of people that can literally get to that trail from their backyards.”
Manning said the foundation recruited trail crews from some area ski resorts to help with the three-day trail overhaul. The project included rerouting approximately 800 feet of the trail, patching it through to a more sturdy embankment on the mountain, and including a new drainage system that should help with erosion issues in the area.
“We basically just made the grade a lot more doable,” Manning said.
Portions of the BST stretch from southern Idaho through Utah, as far south as Santaquin. Legislation introduced earlier this year by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, aims to free up about 326 acres of wilderness divided up over more than 20 small locations, to accommodate new construction of the existing trail and connect sections that are currently separated. Eventually, trail proponents want to connect more than 280 miles, making the BST run contiguously from Idaho to Nephi.
According to bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org, the concept for the route 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 ancient, glacial Lake Bonneville in Cache, Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties.
Earlier this year, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the trail has the potential to be both a recreational asset and a teaching tool about the ancient Lake Bonneville.
According to the Utah Geological Survey, the lake existed between 14,000 and 32,000 years ago, covering about 20,000 square miles of western Utah and smaller portions of eastern Nevada and southern Idaho. At its largest, the lake was about 325 miles long, 135 miles wide and had a maximum depth of over 1,000 feet.
The nonprofit trails foundation (formerly known as Weber Pathways) celebrated its 25th anniversary in February.
According to the organization’s website, its mission is to “plan, promote, construct, and protect a network of public pathways, trails, and related open spaces for non-motorized users throughout the greater Weber County area.”
From 2011 through today, the organization has constructed 40 miles of natural surface and 12 miles of paved trails, tunnels and bridges with a combined construction cost of more than $4 million. The projects are typically funded through private donations and grants from RAMP and other government agencies.
Aside from its regular trail rehab work, like the recent reroute of the BST, the organization is also working on two multiyear construction projects this year, totaling more than $2.7 million. One project will restore aquatic habitat on the Weber River for a sensitive fish species, the bluehead sucker. After that phase, a section of the Weber River Parkway trail will be constructed to connect to the Fisherman’s Point trailhead in South Weber City. The project will cost $1.6 million.
A second project will add 1.5 miles to the Pineview Loop Pathway, connecting the Old Snowbasin Road to Huntsville. Once that portion is finished, there will be a 20-mile paved trail from Wolf Creek Resort to Snowbasin mostly separated from motor vehicles. Only a short section of Old Snowbasin Road will be shared. The project will cost $1.1 million.