McPolin Farm opens nature trail |

McPolin Farm opens nature trail

Audrey Harnagel, PCHS Intern

The McPolin farm is opening Park City’s first interpretive nature trail. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Monday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to come spend time in nature and enjoy the new addition to the Park City trail system.

The McPolin Nature Trail is a moderate, one-mile loop, perfect for the young, old and less athletic. The interpretive signage, consisting of 11 wooden signposts, points out native plant and animal life such as chokecherry, sage grouse and mule deer. Some signs inform walkers about Native American and farming history of the area. Many prompt the reader to listen or touch, evoking a deeper nature experience. The trail has features for all ages, but according to Jinny Vallor, co-chair of the nonprofit group that provides volunteer support to the city-owned McPolin farm, it was designed especially to expose less experienced nature-goers to the peaceful charm of our Park City environment.

"I think that we need to train our children, the next generation, to be involved in conservation just like their parents are," said Vallor.

Bestselling author Richard Louv sparked the inspiration of the McPolin Nature Trail project when he gave a lecture at the Jim Santy auditorium in 2007. Louv advocated an early exposure to nature as a way to lower children’s stress and improve performance in school. The trail idea was spearheaded by former director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, Carol Potter. After much paperwork, a conservation easement, and assistance from the Park City Municipal and the Mountain Trails Foundation, the nature trail evolved from an idea to a reality.

Parts of the new trail were resurrected from an old Park City High School cross-country trail that had been out of use for years. Rick Fournier of Mountain Trails helped build the new trail with less vertical distance to make it more accessible to beginning outdoorsmen. The unpaved single track helps the trail retain its rustic outdoor feel despite the easy difficulty.

According to Vallor, the signage is an essential aspect of the nature trail, and couldn’t have been completed without local graphic designers Marianne Cone and Nancy Hall. Terry Moffitt and Sarah Klingenstein were involved in editing the information on the signs and producing final copies.

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Throughout the five-year process, many people have been involved with the McPolin Nature Trail project. Vallor and Sharon Winders, co-chairs of the Friends of the Farm Committee, said they were grateful to all who participated in the project especially Heinrich Deters, Project Manager of the Park City Municipal Trails and Open Space; Charlie Sturgis, the Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation; and members of the Friends of the Farm.

Ribbon cutting celebration

Head to the McPolin barn to experience the trail for yourself on Monday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. Parking is located off State Road 224. Walk through the underpass and take the Farm Trail north. The trailhead is located quarter mile from the white barn.