Park City: a no-hunting zone | ParkRecord.com

Park City: a no-hunting zone

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Hikers and bicyclists on trails inside Park City should be safe as the deer hunt continues.

People are prohibited from shooting a gun in the city, effectively banning hunting in the Park City limits as well. And, acreage that some would see as prime hunting grounds in Park City is under municipal ownership. City Hall prohibits hunting on that ground. But officials sometimes receive reports of hunters inside Park City nonetheless.

The City Hall law that prohibits shooting a gun bans discharging any sort of weapon, including a bow and arrow. The law essentially bans bow hunting as well as hunting with a gun.

The acreage in Round Valley has seemed to be especially attractive to hunters over the years even though hunting is not allowed there. Round Valley is a large swath of land stretching roughly from the edge of Park Meadows toward the Snyderville Basin and Quinn’s Junction. It is easily accessible from various points and is popular with bicyclists and hikers.

City Hall years ago started to acquire land in Round Valley for conservation purposes. The municipal government owns approximately 2,100 acres of land in Round Valley, 1,500 of which are inside the city limits. Hunting was one of the issues Park City officials wanted to address when the acreage was annexed into the city limits.

The law prohibiting discharging a weapon inside the city covers the 1,500 Round Valley acres that are within the city’s borders. Heinrich Deters, who manages trails and open space for City Hall, said the municipal government, as the landowner, prohibits hunting on the acreage outside the borders.

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Deters said there have been fewer problems with hunters inside Park City or on municipal land located outside the city in recent years. He said many hunters nowadays understand the prohibition in Park City.

"It was a lot worse many, many years ago," Deters said.

There are longstanding worries in Park City about hunting. Officials have said for years hunting is dangerous in a populated area like Park City. Round Valley is situated close to Park City neighborhoods while other spots that hunters might find attractive, perhaps in the hills surrounding Old Town, are also close to residences.

"That’s why the discharge ordinance is there," Deters said.

There have been several hunting reports to the authorities in recent weeks. The Park City Police Department on Sept. 11 received a report at 6:20 p.m. from Lowell Avenue. The police were told a hunter was seen on a trail in the hills surrounding Park City. The hunter wore camouflage and carried a bow, the police were told. On Sept. 22, meanwhile, the police received a report of a hunter at Park City Mountain Resort.

Earlier in October, meanwhile, someone found an elk carcass approximately 100 feet off a trail in Round Valley. The person who found the carcass, a longtime hunter, said the animal had been shot.

The reports could increase later this month. The general deer hunt, a popular time for hunting, runs from Oct. 17 until Oct. 25.

A prominent Park City trails advocate urged hikers and bicyclists to be cautious during the hunting season. Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of Mountain Trails Foundation, said hikers and bicyclists should wear brightly colored clothes during the hunting season. They could avoid areas that are heavily hunted, he said.

He had not received complaints from hikers or bicyclists by early on Friday. He said trails that are in the open are safer during hunting season.

Sturgis said hikers and bicyclists should be cautious of hunting along the Wow trail in Wasatch County and trails in the Uinta Mountains outside of Woodland.

"Can you look like a deer out there on a bike or running? You sure can," Sturgis said.