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E-bikes still barred from Snyderville Basin singletrack but changes may be coming

An abandoned e-bike on the Poison Creek Trail. While e-bikes are allowed on paved trails in Summit County, they aren't allowed on the mountain, outside of a few exceptions.
Parker Malatesta
An abandoned e-bike on the Poison Creek Trail. While e-bikes are allowed on paved trails in Summit County, they aren't allowed on the mountain with few exceptions.

Unless you have a disability, e-bikes are not allowed on singletrack trails in the Snyderville Basin.

Basin Recreation, which manages trails in the Snyderville Basin just outside Park City, has recently stepped up enforcement to keep e-bikes off singletrack trails.

Basin Recreation Director Dana Jones said e-bike rules have not changed for dirt trails.

“Nothing has changed,” Jones said. “They’re not allowed on natural surface singletrack trails, and that’s by a trail designation allowed under Summit County code.”

There is an exception to that rule for anyone who has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“If you have a mobility disability as per ADA, then you can use Basin Rec trails, because that is ADA regulation,” Jones added.

The same rules apply to Park City trails. However, Park City has one rule the Basin does not.

In 2019 the Park City Council approved an ordinance allowing people 65 and older to use e-bikes on singletrack.

Basin Recreation Trails and Open Space Manager Phares Gines said it’s not always easy for people to know whether they’re on a trail in the city or the county.

“That’s probably one of the biggest complaints that I get as trail manager, is that there’s no direct messaging as to when you’re leaving a Park City trail and entering a Basin Recreation trail and what are our regulations,” Gines said.

As a reference, the McPolin Barn along state Route 224 marks Park City limits. Park City trails include Round Valley, but its jurisdiction ends near the Highland Drive Trailhead, which is managed by Basin Rec.

In the coming months, Park City and Basin Rec are teaming up to launch a survey gauging public opinion about e-bike use on trails.

During a Park City Council meeting about e-bikes last month, Snyderville Basin resident Ryan Goff argued local rules could be improved.

“I’ll give the example of my wife and her dad,” Goff said. “Her dad just turned 70 years old. He’s still very active with Utah Nordic Alliance, a passionate cross country ski racer, and will run circles around just about anybody in any kind of cardio endurance sport. The man doesn’t need an e-bike, but he can ride it. On the other hand, you have my wife, she’s given birth to two beautiful girls in the last two and a half years. Her fitness is not where it was pre-kid, to be able to ride the bike into the same places in the same way she was before.”

He said when his wife has used an e-bike on mountain trails, she is often heckled by others.

Jones with Basin Rec said they plan to use results from the e-bike survey to determine if policies should change for both paved and singletrack trails.