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Summit County intends to take over Rail Trail maintenance

The rail trail snakes north from Park City to Echo.
Parker Malatesta
The rail trail snakes north from Park City to Echo.

It would acquire the trail from Utah State Parks, which maintains the miles of trail outside Park City limits.

Summit County Manager Shayne Scott has submitted a letter of intent to potentially assume “ownership” of the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail from Utah State Parks.

Technically, neither the state parks agency nor the county are the owners.

Union Pacific owns the right-of-way and leases it to the local government through a process called “railbanking.” Technically, the rail company could decide to run trains through the corridor again, if economic winds change.

“The Rail Trail is a treasured corridor through the heart of our county,” Scott said. “We look forward to conversations with the public to hear their ideas, concerns and desires related to this property. Nothing is decided at this point, but this letter is an important initial step in the process.”

The county’s letter of intent begins a process to study the feasibility and ramifications of assuming responsibility for the property, but it isn’t binding.

Previously, Utah State Parks indicated it favors giving the trail to Summit County.

“Utah State Parks greatly values our ongoing relationship with Summit County,” Utah State Parks Director Scott Strong said. “The Rail Trail has been one of the most unique offerings in our state park system since its dedication over 30 years ago. We look forward to continuing working through this process to ensure a future that benefits both the trail and its visitors.”

According to Summit County, there are currently no plans to alter the trail if it’s acquired, such as adding pavement or fees.

Park City Municipal manages the section of the trail within city limits, which would not change if the county acquires the rest of the trail.

Learn more about the Rail Trail Corridor Project at https://www.summitcounty.org/1322/Rail-Trail-Corridor-Project.

Learn more about the Rail Trail at https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/historic-union-pacific-rail-trail/discover.

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