With decades of trail construction, design and management experience, Troy Duffin, a former Mountain Trails Foundation executive director, is jump-starting a new statewide non-profit group, Trails Utah.
Based in Salt Lake City, Trails Utah will focus on trails advocacy and promotion on a statewide level, helping communities who want more and better trail systems. Duffin said he has been filing paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service for the past two years to make the organization a 501(c)(3).
"We found there are a lot of areas that would like to either enhance tourism or create amenities," Duffin said. "Trails are inexpensive and they don't take up a lot of land. We're trying to get communities to see the value of [trails]."
Duffin has an impressive trails background, having served as the Mountain Trails Foundation's first executive director for 10 years and on that organization's Board of Directors for another 10 years. In 1994, he formed Alpine Trails, a trails planning, design, construction and maintenance company which built many of the trails in the Park City area. Duffin also helped create the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District.
At this point, Trails Utah is concentrating on advocacy work and Duffin said the organization has already reached out to Daggett County regarding trails near Flaming Gorge Reservoir, as well as to Cedar City and St. George. He said Trails Utah will probably not be as involved in trail maintenance as Mountain Trails Foundation, and added his organization will not compete with them.
"We'll be working with government and private landowners to try to bring support and approval for trails," Duffin said. "We're getting into the communities that asked us for help."
Duffin said the organization has also been in conversations with the U.S. Forest Service regarding trails, especially in looking at ways to connect the seven ski resorts across the Wasatch Mountains.
Although Trails Utah's website is currently under construction, individuals can find the organization on Facebook.