New mountain trails to enjoy
The grand opening of the Pinecone Trail is just one of the developments on the local trail scene this year. In a wide-ranging interview, Jay Burke, board chair of the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and manager of social media for Mountain Trails Foundation, discussed some of the others.
In the northeast corner of Round Valley is a new trail known as Ramble On that was built earlier this year on city-owned land by the crew from Mountain Trails Foundation, Burke said.
"It used to be you’d come in that corner and there’s a two-track road that kind of goes up the gut out there," Burke said. "And so what this trail has done is, up above that big two-track road that went up the middle, it actually parallels that road and gets us up in the trees, and it comes back around then and ties in with another new trail from last year which is called Rusty Shovel."
The addition of Ramble On completes a loop around the outer edge of Round Valley, not including the recent 300-acre acquisition of Nadine Gilmor’s property, he said.
Burke said he thinks local users who haven’t been in Round Valley since the spring will be pleasantly surprised.
"It really, really is a cool addition to Round Valley."
The H.A.M. Trail the acronym stands for Herb and Mel (Armstrong), who granted easements across their land for the Armstrong trail is a new mile-long link between the Armstrong and Spiro trails, creating a loop for hikers and riders who don’t want to follow the Armstrong trail all the way to the top.
"It used to be if you got on Armstrong you were marching your way all the way up to Mid-Mountain Trail with no way to get off, unless you turned around and just walked right back down," Burke said. "So, at about two-thirds up, about probably three miles up, it (the H.A.M. Trail) turns off and goes back over towards Park City and kind of cuts across the gully there and drops you right onto the Spiro Trail.
"So the cool thing is it makes a great hike. It makes a really great trail run, I think, for the folks in the evening, after work, or before-work kind of folks that just want to get out for a quick bit of fresh air. You don’t have to go all the way up to Mid-Mountain and come down Spiro in its entirety. It makes a really nice loop."
The Preserve Connector
The Flying Dog Trail, a part of the popular Glenwild system in the Snyderville Basin, used to include a section that shared a public road in The Preserve. This spring, on National Trails Day, crews built a one-mile stretch of trail that bypasses the road.
"The beauty of it was is that you don’t have to ride up the road," Burke said. "It’s true trail the whole way around Flying Dog. So that was a really cool piece of trail. And it was more kind of finishing off something that needed to be done, working with the development up there to get that done."
Plans for PayDay trail
In the planning stages is a trail that would cross some of the runs under the PayDay lift at Park City Mountain Resort and tie in to the Mid-Mountain Trail near the old gondola angle station. Burke said the trail should take a lot of pressure off the Spiro Trail.
More directional trails
Basin Recreation is discussing experimenting with directional trails similar to the Armstrong Trail on some parts of its system, Burke said.
"Armstrong is a good example," he said. "It’s uphill for bikes only, both ways for hikers. The Basin is going to look at Flying Dog out in the Glenwild system, to do a little trial on some directional usage, and just getting some feedback from users."
Burke said users have been inquiring about more directional trails, which have been catching on in other areas.
"By no means are we saying that we’re going to take every trail and give it some sort of a directional designation. This is just going to be a few identified trails, and see how it goes."
One of Burke’s favorite projects in his work with social media for Mountain Trails Foundation is the development of an interactive map on the organization’s website, mountaintrails.org.
"We’ve got the ability now to do some trail reporting for all the trails in Park City," he said. "So in the spring, that’s going to be a really helpful resource for our users, ’cause everyone’s always frothing at the bit to get out and get on the trails. And sometimes they’re not quite ready yet. We’ve had a fragmented approach to reporting what was open and what wasn’t. Basin was doing some of their own, and we were haphazardly trying to mention what might be open and closed. So this will really give a one-stop shop for people to get on there and go, ‘Oh, this is great. This is open. I know I can go ride there.’"
The system also allows people to go to the site and create their own routes and to download GPX files for their GPS systems. The courses for some of the most popular local races such as the Park City Point 2 Point, the Mid-Mountain Marathon, the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, the Park City Marathon are also on the site.
Ten Seconds of Kindness
Under the direction of Charlie Sturgis, executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, the organization has launched a campaign dubbed "Ten Seconds of Kindness" to encourage good citizenship on the trails.
"It’s a pretty cool mantra, actually," Burke said. "I think it’s just something we really need to be cognizant of, especially as we get more and more users, and we get users that are penetrating from other areas that don’t understand, necessarily, our trail system."
As part of that campaign, Backcountry.com has donated 2,000 bicycle bells that are available free at Mountain Trails events and at many local bike shops.
"We’re just encouraging people to get bells on your bikes, put a bell on your ski pole, whatever you hike with. Let’s let people know we’re on the trail whether you’re a hiker, biker, walker, runner, it doesn’t really matter," Burke said.
"If I’m coming up on somebody and I’ve got 50 feet and I don’t have a bell on, I usually give a little whistle or something. I want them just to know, ‘Hey, I’m present.’
"I think it would make our trail system that much better. It’s that ’10 Seconds of Kindness,’ and I think it goes a long way."
An attorney representing a critic of Park City’s plans to build restricted affordable housing in Old Town sent a letter urging officials to meet the same standards that would be required of a private-sector developer in the neighborhood.