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Park City Budgets $850k for Rail Trail Improvements

Rail Trail State Park Website

In April, city council in Park City directed staff to pursue taking over a portion of the Rail Trail from Utah State Parks. $850,000 is included in next year’s city budget for improvements to the iconic Summit County trail.


Stretching over 28 miles from Park City to the Echo Reservoir north of Coalville, the Rail Trail is a popular walking and biking path for thousands of people each year.


In April, Park City began the process of eventually taking over a roughly 2.75-mile stretch of the trail between Bonanza Drive and SR 248 in an effort to fully control the portion of the trail within Park City’s boundaries. 


Councilor Max Doilney told KPCW many people don’t know the city has never controlled what happens to the rail trail, Utah State Parks does.


“I don’t think most people realize that Park City didn’t and never has had control over the Rail Trail and its upkeep,” Doilney said. “The state parks had made it clear to us that they were capable of doing a good job of keeping that trail in good condition and upkeep on the trash cans and the little spots where you can stop and sit, but it hasn’t really lived up to what we expected. Now, we’re trying to cut a deal with them where we can take over that responsibility and make it fit a little better with the wishes of Park City residents.”


According to city documents, Utah State Parks budgets $89,000 annually for upkeep of the entire 28 miles trail. If Park City were to take over the 2.75 miles of trail within the city, the $850,000 in the budget would go towards various improvements like widening and repaving the trail, lighting, and benches.


Deputy City Manager David Everitt said there is a lot of room for improvement and the city has the resources to significantly upgrade the trail over the coming years.


“It could probably go quite a bit wider given the right of way,” said Everitt. “I don’t think that’s necessarily the plan, but it’s such a popular resource, it’s a well-used path for recreation and for transportation. There’s a lot of work to be done there because it’s not been, I’d say it’s not been maintained at the Park City standard.”


Councilor Steve Joyce added the details of the agreement are still being worked on, but they could take the form of a long-term easement with Utah State Parks. He said the city could be getting a lot of value for a relatively small investment compared to how expensive other transportation projects can be.


“In the grand scheme of transportation projects, that stuff is cheap compared to paving roads and sidewalks and parking lots and things like that,” he said.


Talks to finalize the city’s FY22 budget will continue through June.