Wasatch Trails Foundation Supports Effort To Create Part Time Trail Planner For Heber Valley
For the past decade the Wasatch Trails Foundation has been creating and sustaining backcountry trails in Wasatch County. Trails in the area may have some more comprehensive planning with the creation of a new part-time position to serve the Heber Valley.
Creating and connecting trails has become a greater priority for government entities in the Heber Valley. This past month the Mountainlands Association of Governments has approached Midway, Heber City and Wasatch County about hiring a trail planner to serve the area. Although it is a completely separate entity, Wasatch Trails Foundation president Eric Porter says they supports the creation of the trail planning position as it serves a need to bring connectivity in the area.
“We have Heber, Midway, and the County all having their own things that they're doing in trail plans,” Porter explained. “So this is really going to pull it all together with one person who can hold the developers accountable that need to be building trails on their property. As well as state parks, and what we’re doing, and to just have one cohesive plan. Make sure that it all works well together.”
The part-time position will be non-benefited and about 19 hours per week. Pay rate will be approximately $22,000 a year.
Midway and Heber City Councils along with Wasatch County Council have all approved their portion of the funding in the past month, meaning hiring for the part-time trail’s planner and their eventual work could begin as soon as early summer. The position will initially be for one year, with options to expand the role in the future.
“There's been problems with alignments where things are not coming together as they should, or where grades are way too steep, things like that,” Porter continued. “So there have been problems in the past and it's really going to help to have one person that their job is to make sure that the whole trail system works for everybody.”
The Wasatch Trails Foundation meanwhile has been around for 10 years and created and maintained through volunteer efforts over 90 miles of backcountry trails in Wasatch County. Porter said the latest project the foundation completed was the Pine Canyon Bike Park through their donations and volunteer efforts, aided by a grant from the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation.
“That was a pump track at Wasatch Mountain State Park at the bottom of the WoW (Wasatch over Wasatch) trail,” Porter said. “A green and a blue level flow trail. We're finishing up the signs with the help of some Eagle Scout projects, and we just got approved for an RTP (Recreation Trails Programming) grant which is for Maple Grove. So that's a connector on the WoW trail about halfway down and that’s going to be a connector about three miles long. That's going to traverse the mountain and kind of contour into the trail. Basically, split it up so you can make it into smaller loops. You have an access point in the middle especially if there's medical concerns.”
Work on the Maple Groves connector will begin this spring. Other trails of interest to Heber Valley residents is a trail connecting Jordanelle reservoir to Deer Creek.
“It's in the county trail plan, so it's moving forward as far as I know,” Porter explained. “Wasatch Trails Foundation is more backcountry trail focused so it doesn't fall exactly within our wheelhouse, but we do support it and we’re doing what we can to help make it happen. So it's in the planning stages right now as well as a Deer Creek reservoir down to Vivian Park, so down Provo Canyon.”
Both trails are in the planning stages and could be either paved or graded gravel. Porter said future projects will look to add connectivity and better quality of trails, the organization also plans to support Mountain Trails Foundation as they make plans for the Bonanza Flat area.