The Summit County Council has voted to begin enforcing stricter parking policies at popular trailheads last week. Signage was put in place over the weekend and enforcement is scheduled to begin on Aug. 1.
Overcrowding at Summit County trailheads and congestion on the trails has become a serious problem in recent years. Parking overflow into residential areas and etiquette issues have led to friction with nearby residents. Now, as a solution, the Summit County Council will enforce stricter policies in order to relieve some of the tensions.
Signs were put in place over the weekend at the popular Rob’s Trail and Summit Park trailheads. They notify trail users they cannot park on the street outside of the designated trailhead parking areas.
“We’re going to work with the Summit County public works department to get the ‘no parking’ signs put in within the next couple of weeks and then starting August 1 is when what we’re considering sort of our beginning of the enforcement period,” Basin Recreation Trails Manager Matt Wagoner says. “That will be an escalating enforcement where you’re ticketed, then you’re booted, then you’re towed and then after a month of that, starting in September, then it’s just if you’re outside of the designated parking areas then the tow truck is just going to be called.”
Wagoner says other remedies like a paid parking program are not ideal solutions to the problem because of the costs associated with enforcement. He says their research on the subject led them to conclude it would cost more to enforce the policies than what they would make in paid parking. In fact, Wagoner says the program would likely require more people to visit the trails and pay for parking in order to be a financially viable solution.
Wagoner adds initial enforcement of the parking policies will be by the Summit County Sheriff's office until Basin Rec is granted jurisdiction over the parking areas.
“We have to be empowered with the ability to enforce these county codes and that’s a process that’s happening now,” Wagoner said. “County Council should, I think by the end of this month, be hearing some recommendations about how to modify the county’s administrative code to allow us to do that. In the short term, we’re relying on the Sheriff’s Department and they have very generously agreed to patrol some of these areas more often.”
More information about the trail policy can be found on the Basin Recreation website and weekly Summit County Council meetings are held on Wednesdays.