As summer arrives and more people take to the trails around Park City, trail etiquette has become a hot topic for locals. Summit County officials are looking for your input on the best way to manage our open spaces.
Park City’s trail system is a well-known destination for outdoor enthusiasts nationwide. Every year, thousands of hikers and bikers utilize the trails in and around Park City. Unfortunately, their popularity has also led to friction with local property owners.
The trail system stretches across both public and private property in Summit County and locals have expressed concerns to the county over issues like crowded trailheads, blocked driveways, loud music, and dogs.
In response, Summit County will be hosting a virtual public meeting at 6pm on June 16 for public input on the best way to address these concerns.
Margaret Olson is the Summit County Attorney and said it can be hard for people to fully understand the trail they are on may run through someone’s backyard, especially for out of town visitors.
“We’re hoping that this can grow up organically so we can create more of a culture of respect and awareness that this is not a trail system that’s on national forest land, you’re in a neighborhood and where you’re parking is actually someone’s front yard, so don’t barbecue there," she said. "There was one homeowner who had a person who was sledding in his yard and she hit a tree while sledding in that person’s yard that’s at the base of a trailhead and then sued him for a million dollars.”
Olsen said that closing trailheads is the most extreme solution and the county will be looking into other measures like paid parking, restricting dogs on the trails, and implementing one-way traffic or alternate use days instead.
Other popular trail networks like those in Bend, Oregon, and Sedona, Arizona, already charge for trailhead parking, so a move by the county to implement something similar would not be unprecedented.
“We’re looking for people to help us come up with solutions," she said. "We know what the problems are, but we would like the community to come and have input as to what solutions may be the best and would contribute to creating a more respectful and workable trail system here in the basin.”
Olsen added that in the meantime, trail users are encouraged to walk or bike to the trailheads instead of driving.