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Trail Advocates Hope That Petition Will Finally Complete Oakley-Kamas Link Along 32

Tom Noaker

The South Summit Trails Foundation has launched a petition drive, aimed at the Summit County Council, to complete a trail that’s been contemplated for about 20 years.

The trail advocates say they just need the political will to finish a  link along Highway 32, connecting Oakley to Kamas.

The director of the Trails Foundation, Tom Noaker, said it would be a multi-use trail, but the major patrons would likely be pedestrians and cyclists.     It will be important not just for recreation, but to avoid a dangerous situation for people now walking along State Route 32.

Noaker said the trail link was proposed when a three-member County Commission was the governing body.   The county looked at three alternatives.     

“One was the Provo Canal.  And that really involved too many government agencies—Bureau of Reclamation, Provo River Water Users Association, a lot of stipulations and details that had to be followed, and it was very expensive.  So they looked at a west-side trail, that was alignment along Democrat Alley.  And that involved a couple of bridges over some wet ground and connection along 248 to Kamas.   So that also became a budget problem.   And that left the route next to SR 32, which is within a prescriptive easement.”

Noaker said about 40 percent of the trail was completed, reaching the Marion Town Park, and then money ran out.

He said that approvals and planning are in place to finish the trail.     Noaker said the trail is allowed in the easement, even though there’s a host of private landowners with entrances and exits crossing to the highway.     He said there were about 80 owners originally, and are probably more now.

He said a couple of years ago, the trails group also financed a water delineation study.         

“All that’s been in place now for a couple of years.  And the last I heard, the county had actually budgeted for the engineering on the project.   But really the reason behind the petition is we haven’t been able to move the needle.   In many cases, we can’t really even get up-to-date information on where that engineering project is and how to complete the project.”

Noaker said the response to the petition has exceeded their hopes.     As of Wednesday night, the Foundation’s website said they had 1100 signatures.

He said the public is behind the trail—a change from two decades back.      

“Twenty years ago, there was probably more opposition to this trail concept than there were proponents.  It’s obviously flipped.  Anyway, we still have our opponents, and they’re quite vociferous as well.  (Leslie) And the opponents are the private property owners?  (Noaker) In some cases.  In many cases, they’re just folks who’ve lived here for generations.   And they just don’t understand the concept and they don’t care to understand it, it seems.   And there’s fewer of those people now than there were.  Like I said, 20 years ago, we were definitely rolling the hill.   But now I think we have gravity on our side.”

Asked about how the trail will be financed, Noaker said his group is too small to take on that job by themselves.       

“We do have opportunities for some grants that we can actually contribute.   But we can’t be the primary funder.  This is a government project.  This is a county project, and in accordance with the state and perhaps Mountainlands can chip in too.  They were involved at the very beginning.  So there’s other sources for financing.  We’re not looking for that with this petition.   What we’re just looking for is support.   We feel like if it’s just the Trails Foundation and the same three or four board members presenting the project, and it’s not really—it doesn’t carry that much weight.”

Tom Noaker, director of the South Summit Trails Foundation.    He said the Board for the group will meet next month, and decide when to take the petition to the County Council.

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