Park City builds trailheads with restrooms, maps, benches in Bonanza Flat
Drivers for decades found a place to park, wherever their vehicles fit, as they reached a scenic overlook above the sprawling acreage of Bonanza Flat.
On a stretch of S.R. 224 that is open conditions permitting, they would typically park their cars, sport utility vehicles or trucks on the side of the narrow road, which was unpaved for years. Or, they would find space in the dirt and rocks just off the road. On the busiest days, the space for drivers quickly narrowed with vehicles on both sides of the road.
City Hall, which acquired Bonanza Flat in 2017 in a $38 million conservation agreement, is continuing to make improvements designed to increase the accessibility to the 1,350-acre tract of ground in Wasatch County. Some of the crucial work — the construction of trailheads — is ongoing.
Four trailheads are under construction on the high-elevation Bonanza Flat land with the possibility they will be complete this fall, depending on the weather. There was snow in the higher elevations in late September, but it was not yet clear whether the recent weather will force the delay of the work until the spring.
The Empire Pass trailhead, close to the location where drivers headed southbound reach the scenic overlook, is nearly finished. The parking area is clearly designated, there is a rope bordering the trailhead and the posts for a kiosk that will be installed are in the ground. The kiosk will offer information about the trails and provide a map identifying the mountains that are visible in the distance. There will also be benches at the trailhead. There is a restroom.
“They like to take a picture, a view area,” Heinrich Deters, who manages real estate, trails and open space for City Hall, said about people who reach the overlook.
On Sunday, a blustery day with winds strong enough to make walking difficult, several people were seen braving the difficult conditions at the Empire Pass trailhead to take photographs.
The Guardsman Pass trailhead, located at the pass itself, is also nearly finished. A Bloods Lake trailhead, located approximately one mile downhill from Guardsman Pass, is under construction while a trailhead known as Bonanza Flat, approximately 600 feet from the Empire Pass trailhead, is also under construction.
All of the trailheads will have parking spaces. City Hall says there are expected to be approximately 100 parking spaces, combined, among the trailheads.
The trailheads are an effort by City Hall to increase the accessibility of Bonanza Flat, a popular spot for recreation in the summer and winter. They also provide locations for restrooms and trash cans.
The land had been under private ownership prior to the City Hall acquisition. Recreation lovers regularly used Bonanza Flat while it was under private ownership, but the City Hall acquisition has led to an increase in use. The trailheads will be some of the most important City Hall improvements to the land.
A ballot measure approved by Park City voters in 2016 that provided most of the funding for the Bonanza Flat acquisition contemplated what were described as “limited improvements for public access, parking and use.” The trailheads fall under that provision.
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