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Basin Recreation Provides Updates on Hazardous Fuel Reduction and Trailhead Parking Enforcement

Basin Recreation

The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District will be holding a virtual public meeting on Thursday, August 27 from 6-8pm to update the public on a multi-year forest health project. The meeting will also allow the public to comment on the program. 


The multi-year Forest Health and Hazardous Fuel Reduction project is slated to get underway in September and is aimed at reducing forest fire risk in key areas of Summit County.


Jess Kirby is the Open Space Management Supervisor for the Snyderville Basin Recreation District and told KPCW that next Thursday’s meeting is a chance for Basin Recreation to be as transparent as possible about the project.


“We really want to use this as an education for the community so that they’re not taken by surprise by the project,” said Kirby. “It’s a forest management situation where trees are going to be cut down and the visual aspects of the property will change and we just want to make sure that we’re listening to the public and addressing concerns.”


Kirby said the project will be removing what are called “hazard trees” in order to promote the overall health of the forest. Hazard trees can be both living or dead and tree removals will be in consultation with Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands. The project will begin in Summit Park and has plans to expand to the surrounding land in the coming years.


The project is funded through a $150,000 grant to the district by the Utah Watershed Restoration Institute and the Utah Department of Water Quality, as well as tax revenue designated for open space management. Kirby said this project is one the district is not taking lightly.


“We recognize our responsibility to be good stewards of our land and be good neighbors to this WUI area that this property sits within, which is the wildland urban interface of the neighborhood,” she said. 


Kirby added that trail users will need to be mindful of trail closures at certain times during the project. Basin Recreation will have interactive trail maps on their website with all trail closures as well as QR codes at trailheads for users to scan and get the latest updates.


Public comment on the Forest Health and Hazardous Fuel Reduction project is open until August 28th.


Basin Recreation Interim Director, Melissa O’Brien, also gave an update on the new parking enforcement measures at popular traileads that went into effect earlier this month. Parking restrictions are being used to reduce the congestion seen at trailheads in the basin that has only gotten worse in recent years. Overflow parking into residential areas has fueled tensions with locals.


O’Brien said a ticket at the trailhead is just like a parking ticket anywhere else and repeat offenders will face increasing levels of punishment.


“It starts with a ticket, but if someone doesn’t pay that ticket or is a repeat offender, we can move to booting and towing,” she said. “I want people to really be aware of those parking restrictions, obey posted signage, and we have a big presence right now out at the trailheads so ask questions if you’re confused.” 


O’Brien adds that a group will be formed over the winter to discuss further strategies to reduce trailhead crowding like additional transportation options and trail counters. As of right now, nothing is off the table but moving towards paid parking is not the ideal course of action, she says.


More information on the Forest Health and Hazardous Fuel Reduction project or the trailhead parking restrictions can be found at basinrecreation.org.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.