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Snow Bikes Not Welcome On Basin Trail

The popular Rob’s Trial near the top of the Sun Peak neighborhood has a sign stating snow bike use will not be allowed this year. Snyderville Basin Recreation received complaints from hikers that the trail has become dangerous because bikes travel too fast on the downhill. The decision is being challenged by users in favor of allowing bike use in the winter months. Basin Recreation will hold a public input meeting Tuesday at 3:30 to talk about Basin Rec’s decision.  Carolyn Murray has this:
Two years ago, Rob’s trail was limited to uphill biking only because the mix of hikers and down-hill bicycle travel had become dangerous. Basin Recreation District Manager, Brian Hanton said the first season, 2017, they had complaints but this past summer the regulation was well received by the users of the trail system.

The trailhead at Robs Trail is at the top of the Sun Peak neighborhood located between Canyons and the back side of the Utah Olympic Park. During summer months, down hill bikers can make a loop by riding up Robs Trail and down the UOP or Canyons trails. Hanton said those same trails are not accessible during winter conditions.

“Unfortunately, they’re both in their winter operations so those areas are off limits. So, that’s where we ran into the situation of okay, we can get them up there now but with the winter operations and the snow at both facilities, we can’t loop them. So, they would have to come back down that trail. With some of the comments we received last year from hikers and snow shoe-ers, we thought this was a good opportunity to try something a little bit different knowing that there is a number of other snow biking trails that are an allowed use, but evidently, there’s a few that were strongly against that, knowing that that is the area that they’ve used for a number of years.”

Park City trails are used frequently by dog walking services and commercial guiding operations. Hanton said they are trying to encourage guide services to keep groups to fewer than 10 people.

“We have a sign there that if you have more than 10 in your group that you contact us to set up, I mean just making sure that..yeah this is a good time….this isn’t a good time to come up with your group. That is another conversation that we are looking to have. Maybe we reach out to some of those guiding services to say hey, if we can find a better option for your group, that would probably be the best knowing the limitation and parking and the high use that the area gets just from our community. It might be a better way to go. It’ll just be an issue of policing that. And, do we have the resources to have somebody up there checking every group and person that comes in.”

Resident David Drury is frustrated with the decision to shut down snow biking on Robs. He is an ER Doctor and said he sees more dog bites than bicycle hiker accidents.  He told KPCW he doesn’t think it is legal for Basin Rec to control the types of uses on the trail. Drury said an attorney has looked at it and the county would loose if there was a lawsuit. He said the HOA is allowing public access and they could shut Rob’s Trail down to outside use if they wanted. Hanton said they hope to have a legal opinion on this issue by the time they hold the public meeting on December 4th. 

“No, that trail we have an easement on so that trail is under Basin Recreation’s purview. There are other trails in that area that are part of the Sun Peak HOA. And we’ve only had that for a few years and that’s where the changes are. There is the Collins and another one called DuBois and those are all part of the HOA. But the Rob’s portion is one that we have an Easement for and we’ll need to work on more clarity from the county attorney on that."

Last winter, Sun Peak residents expressed concerns with the parking problems and road safety at the trail head. Hanton said they did some work over the summer, so he hopes it makes it safer.

“So, they’ll be able to push the snow back further towards the mountain with hopes that the cars aren’t making that a total single lane road. It’s a two-lane road going up to the backside of the UOP and it would just be one because the snow could only go so far. Are hope is that what we did this past summer, we will have more room for those cars and I think we were able to create a few more spots or at least getting them off the road. But, again, this will be the first snow season for it, so we will see how that works.”

Hanton encourages trail users to come to the meeting at the Basin Rec offices at Trailside at 3:30 on Tuesday.