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Rail Trail corridor study reveals an array of ideas

Summit County

Summit County asked the public to give input on the Rail Trail master plan during an open house Monday night.

About 40 people dropped by the Basin Recreation building to share thoughts and learn about Summit County’s efforts to create a first-ever Rail Trail master plan. This is the second open house organized by the Summit County planning department, with a project team of graduate students from the University of Utah Planning Department.

Ted Bird is a 1983 graduate of Park City High School. He frequently rides his bike into Old Town Park City from his basin neighborhood in Trailside. He said he attended the meeting to see the suggestions coming forward.

“I’m curious about that and maybe future communities that might pop up alongside it. We actually ride Round Valley mostly but we'll jump on the Rail Trail sometimes go into town to eat or whatever and use it at night because it's easier to manage.”

Flower Ambario lives near Silver Summit and sometimes uses the Rail Trail to commute to work…on her roller skates. She said she would like more maintenance and a smoother path, so it’s not as dangerous. She attended with her sister.

"And this is my little sister. She's six years old. I can see her growing up in this community and I want her to get a firsthand experience and really being a part of something that I didn't grow up being a part of. I'm here to learn about what the proposals are. And I'm also here to kind of spit out some ideas ."

Dawna Zukirmi lives in Morgan and runs a guide service outfit that uses the rail trail for peddling and the Weber River for paddling. She wants to see the planning process firsthand and also hopes one day the trail connects Morgan County with the historic railroad town of Echo and eventually connects to the Ogden to Provo trail system along the Wasatch Back.

“And I was hopeful that there was going to be talk about extending it across the freeway into echo town where it could meet up with the trail that goes from Echo to Henefer. And in talking with some of the Morgan County commissioners they are developing or working on developing a trails master plan with the new trails committee and Morgan.”

Bill Ciraco lives in Aspen Springs and has lived in Park City for about two years. He suggests putting the “rail” back in the rail trail. He envisions a more European model of rail service that would link Echo to Park City and help alleviate vehicle traffic. He said workers living outside the city limits in the developments planned for the North Summit County area would use a rail line for commuting.

“The way we do that is through public-private transit rail from Echo to Park City. We open up that entire corridor for people that live in that area and there's a bunch of development that’s already on the boards to happen there.”

Additional comments included the need for weed management to mitigate the prickly goat heads that cause frequent flat tires. However, others didn’t approve of herbicides and wanted to see the rail trail remain unpaved from Quinn’s Junction to Echo.

Some asked the county to create historic destinations such as the Echo Mansion. Others suggested building gates to prevent motorized vehicles from accessing the trail. A frequent concern is also pedestrians and cyclists crossing SR 32. Some said they want to see a tunnel there.

The Rail Trail Corridor Study link can be found here.

For questions or to give input, contact Summit County Planner Maddie McDonough at 435-336-3133.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.