Charlie Sturgis is retiring in June after 11 years of leading the local nonprofit Mountain Trails Foundation, and he thinks the transition to the leadership of longtime Mountain Trails staffer Lora Smith will be a smooth one.
"I mean if it had been someone, an outsider, they would have also probably had to move on from their other job, things like that,” Sturgis said. “So, one of the benefits certainly with Laura as a person who's been almost nine years staffer at Mountain Trails, the handoff is going to be a lot simpler."
Sturgis said some of Smith's duties will stay the same because she is good at them. Smith plans to build on the organization’s successes throughout the years.
In her new role, the 18-year Summit County resident plans to focus on emerging population centers in the area.
"You know, addressing trails needs in other communities that are close by, like, you know, the Jordanelle area,” she said. “There's always the in-town stuff that needs to be taken care of and expanded, maybe made a little bit more efficient. I would point to the Bonanza Flat area as one of the places we tried to expand."
Mountain Trails continues to look for a roommate for the new office location they occupy in the Trailside area.
Sturgis said the foundation is leasing the space with a three-year option to buy. They've talked with Park City and Snyderville Basin officials about possible storage needs.
"When we started down this road five or six years ago, we also were looking at, is there some kind of nonprofit co-op thing that could be done,” Sturgis said. “Could we subdivide the spaces and actually make that work? And that's still on the table. And we have talked to nonprofits about that in the past."
Sturgis thinks that the possible return of the Olympic Winter Games to Utah makes it an important next step for the organization.
Sturgis is reluctant to estimate how much trail has been added during his tenure, but thinks it's around 40 miles or so. He has hopes for expanding the Great Western Trail.
"I would still like to see the connection go to the Great Western from up in Bonanza Flat,” he said. “You know, as a big pipe dream, and I think you know at the state level, they're looking at a little bit more now is actually you know, what can we do to make the Great Western more of a ride through?"
Sturgis also wants to see the equipment manufacturers step up and take more of an active role in trail etiquette and training users.
"If we can engage people on better etiquette and better riding techniques or running techniques or skiing techniques before they arrive here, we'll have a better trail experience for everybody,” Sturgis said. “I mean, I'd like to see a mountain biking code of ethics be on the handlebars of the bike when it leaves the factory."
Sturgis officially retires next month and plans to pursue more time spent with his family, climbing, and enjoying the mountains and the desert.