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Corridor plan envisioned for Summit County rail/trail


Summit County planner Madlyn McDonough told KPCW that they’re looking at the corridor, and the lands surrounding it, and how they can be used to nurture arts, culture, tourism and economic development.

McDonough has given presentations to the Coalville City Council, the East County Planning Commission and Snyderville Commisison

Early on, she said, the planners took an inventory of the trail.

          “We went down the entire trail and took note of things like, where does the trail cross water, where are there bridges, what is the condition of the trail itself in terms of having weeds growing, things like that, where is the trail paved, where is it not.  Our goal at that point was to just find what is the trail like currently and what could be done to potentially improve the trail.  We’re also noting different amenities along the trail, like where is there water access, where are there restrooms, where is there parking, things like that.”

          Among the ideas being considered for the corridor, McDonough said they’re looking at agri-tourism-- a focus on the ranch lands along the trail and the businesses that use them.

Students in the PC CAPS program are studying possible sites for a community center along the corridor.

The rail trail is a state park, opened in 1992. KPCW asked if Park City could take over the portions of the trail within its jurisdiction; and Summit County could do the same. McDonough said it’s a possibility, but nothing formal has been done.

She said they’re also looking at what the corridor plan could do for towns like Wanship.

          “Wanship could potentially be a center for more off the trail, but access to something like a café, or perhaps a farm-to-table-restaurant type experience, cause that area of Wanship is about a block off of the trail.  So it’s pretty convenient access.   And that would be great if we had an access in there.”

          McDonough added they’re not talking about completely paving the rail trail, but would improve it where necessary.

They’re also not looking at lights, unless citizens in the survey indicate they want them because of safety concerns or other reasons.

The trail corridor often runs close to the highway. McDonough said there are different attitudes about that, as she heard from the recent discussion with the Snyderville Planning Commission.

          “One planning commissioner did bring that up, and then another, who utilizes the trail quite often, was mentioning that he really didn’t mind it, and didn’t see it as an issue.  It seems to vary by person and by user whether that is something of concern.  As a part of our inventory of the trail, we did note when is the trail quite close to the freeway and what is the sound impact like.  I think some potential ideas for mitigation include using some native landscape to sort of build up that natural buffer between the road and the rail/trail to not only help with sound but also provide shade.”

          The county is asking for input about the rail/trail corridor and the values associated with it. You can find the community survey at “railtrailsummit.weebly.com” There’s also information on that website about joining focus groups on the corridor.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.