Trail Access, Restrictions on Dogs, Toilets, Designated Parking: Bonanza Flat Changes
Trail head construction is currently underway on the Guardsman Pass Road in Wasatch County. Bathrooms and established parking areas are part of the conservation work needed to make Bonanza Flat ecologically stable and more accessible for recreational use. KPCW has details about the new trail heads and which areas will allow dogs in Bonanza Flat.
Park City purchased the 1300-acre Bonanza Flat property in 2017. After two years, Wasatch County has approved a development agreement with Park City to build four trail head parking areas. Park City started digging restrooms in three of the designated trail head locations.
They include Empire Pass, Bonanza Flat, Bloods Lake and an option to build another one on the Pine Canyon Road. The existing Bloods Lake trail head at the top of Guardsman Pass will close to parking this fall and be a drop off and view area only.
Bloods Lake is a popular destination for outdoor recreationists, but the trail is poorly constructed. Executive Director of Utah Open Lands Wendy Fisher says access to the popular lake is deficient and ecologically unsound. “It was an interweaving web of just different trails that went back and forth. Really, really, wide expanses of bare dirt that really served no other purpose other than to, yes, people could get down there, but they really weren’t well built trails and a lot of erosion was taking place. Plus, you had a lot of impact starting at the top of the watershed and necessarily just all flowing downhill.”
Fisher says closing the top of Guardsman to parking, adding signage and fencing will hopefully dissuade people from using the area to access Bloods Lake. "A little bit of enforcement, a lot of requests for stewardship. And, really that’s what we’re looking for from folks is to ensure that they are careful with how they interact with the land. It’s clearly marked where people are no longer supposed to be going. And we hope that people can respect that."
Fisher says it was disappointing last summer to see the piles of garbage that were left at the top of Guardsman Pass. She says it is bad for the watershed but also demonstrates poor stewardship and a disconnect with the concept of leave no trace. “Basically, about four feet high, three feet wide. Dog waste bags, plastic cups, straws. Just things thrown on the ground, resulting in a huge garbage pile. That was removed at least four times. And, each time people continued to dump their trash, resulting in those huge piles.”
The new Bloods Lake trail is designated as a water shed restoration area. No dogs are permitted on the new trail as well as the trail continuing to Lake Lackawaxen. The trails are stipulated as hiking only. Dogs are permitted on regional trails that traverse through the water shed restoration area. The city will continue to install fencing to prohibit motorized access.
Construction of the trail head parking and toilets is expected to last into the middle of August.