New Trailhead Parking For Bonanza Flat Means Changes On Guardsman's Pass

Sep 18, 2018

Credit Park City Municipal Corporation

Park City Municipal and Wasatch County plan to authorize a Memorandum of Understanding which will allow for the Park City Police and Emergency Services to respond to calls on the City owned Bonanza Flat property off SR 224 /Guardsman’s Pass Road. Wasatch County officials plan to sign it this week. Carolyn Murray has this:

Wasatch Sheriff’s Deputy, Jared Rigby says the Memorandum of Understanding between the County and City enforcement services will run through the end of this year.

“Chief Carpenter and I, and Sheriff Bonner have been trying to work through a number of issues up in that area. Park City is an owner of a lot of property in that area, has great interest and they’re closer in their response times. So, really what we are trying to do with this is provide a short-term solution until we get something more formal and permanent in place.”

Rigby says there are immediate issues on the property and the Guardsman’s Road which need attention and the Park City Police Department can respond much quicker than Wasatch County.

“We end up having semi-trucks that come over Guardsman’s Pass. That’s an interesting thing. But, it causes a lot of problems. That road and that area can’t handle that. So, we need to deal with that. We need to deal with some parking issues in that area and also some campfires and other types of fire calls that law enforcement first responds to. So, we would love the help of the Park City Police Department.”

Park City Mayor, Andy Beerman says since Park City purchased Bonanza Flat last year, they’ve tried to get a handle on managing the parking, the trail head access and the heavy recreational use coming from Salt Lake, Wasatch and Summit Counties.

“I think it’s critical we get it done. When we bought that property, we took on the responsibility of stewardship and I’ve been frustrated with the pace of things. You’re not going to see parking up there anymore. It’ll probably be shuttle drop-off only. We’ve got four trailheads planned but once all those are in there’s going to be no parking at the top of the pass. We are going to put in something nicer and more convenient and we hope the bulk of the people will use that.

There will be a degree of enforcement but realistically, we can’t afford to have rangers up there on a regular basis so it’s going to be a little bit of enforcement but a lot of smart design.”

Beerman says there will be a new trail head opening in the next few weeks at the gravel pit which is below Guardsman’s Pass on the Wasatch County side.

“And what you’re going to see is a closing of the existing trailhead that kind of skids down the hill. And, you’ll now have a very easy walk. It’s going to be much longer. It’s going to be two to three miles but it’s going to be something almost anybody can do.”

Park City Trails and Open Space Manager, Heinrich Deters, says they’ve worked with UDOT and Wasatch County to address the top of the pass. He says it was never designed to be a trail head parking area. It has poor sight lines and is dangerous.

Last week, the City Council authorized a contract to build three new trail head parking areas with plans to ultimately close access to the existing Blood’s Lake Trail Head on the top of Guardsman’s Pass.

“The Quarry Trailhead is the new trail and that’s where the Blood’s Lake Trail will connect into. There are also improvements at Empire Pass. I think most people are familiar with that. It’s already a trailhead area, if you will, but we are going to formalize that and make it a little bit safer for the parking. And, there’s another one called Quincy Shaft. The focus is to build the Quarry Trailhead and bring the Blood’s Lake Trail to that trailhead. And, then close off the Blood’s Lake Trail.”

The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office will have the ultimate law enforcement authority and retain jurisdiction for Bonanza Flat. The attorney’s office and justice court will adjudicate issues that make their way into the judicial system but they will work with Park City law enforcement on a case by case basis when responding to calls.