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State & Regional

New single track trail in Park City will open to e-bikes

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A new e-mountain bike trail is being built at Clark Ranch.

A new multi-use directional loop trail is under construction east of Park City. This will be the first time a local trail is being designed with electric mountain bikes in mind.

The more-than 4-mile trail is being built by the Mountain Trails Foundation on the Park City-owned Clark Ranch property, just east of U.S. 40. The foundation's Executive Director Lora Smith says this would be the first Park City single track trail to expressly allow e-bikes.

“I wouldn’t say it’s specific to e-mountain bikes, but it is e-mountain bike friendly,” Smith said. “So, it's got a little bit wider turn, the radius of the turns are a little bit wider. And then it's also got longer sightlines. E-bikes tend to ride more quickly than normal bikes. So, we would like to make sure that they're safe trails, and that's one of the strategies we use.”

U.S. 40, she adds, is serving as a sort of e-bike barrier. Smith says trails in the Skyridge development on the Jordanelle Reservoir side — or the east side — of U.S. 40 are already e-bike friendly But those on the Park City side — or west side — of U.S. 40 are not.

City ordinance says that unless you’re 65 years or older or have a mobility disability, you may not use an e-bike on city single track.

“If you do meet one of those two requirements, you can get a courtesy tag from the city by going to the Park City municipal website and applying for the courtesy tag online,” Smith said. “The courtesy tag is not a permit. It’s kind of like a race number plate. And it lets other riders know that you are legitimately allowed to be on an e-bike on the single track. So, it's just a way of helping to maybe quell some of the tension between the e- bike riders and some of the old school traditional riders.”

According to Dana Jones, the executive director of the Snyderville Basin Recreation District, the same policy holds true for the Basin trails — no e-bikes allowed on Basin single track. However, she says that could change once the district completes its new trails master plan which is just getting underway.

“They [e-bikes] are allowed on the transportation trails; they are not allowed on the single track,” Jones said. “But we just put out an RFP for a strategic planning process. We got back a number of bidders, and we're in the review process. So, we're really excited. We're going to be starting that process in the next couple of months. One of the things that we've asked them to give us is a trails master plan. And that will really take a look at what the public wants, what we have, what makes sense to move forward in the future. And I am 100% positive that e-bikes will be part of that.”

Smith adds that Mountain Trails crews and machinery are moving up the mountains since the season is short at the upper elevations, so the work on the Clark Ranch e-bike trail may not get finished until this fall.