Toll Canyon management plan still up for debate | ParkRecord.com

Toll Canyon management plan still up for debate

The future management of Toll Canyon, which is nestled between the Pinebrook, Summit Park and Timberline neighborhoods in the Snyderville Basin, will be decided within the next month.

Utah Open Lands and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District is still inviting the public’s comments on the Toll Canyon Stewardship and Management plan that is being proposed for the 781-acre property. A public comment period will remains open until Oct. 26.

An open house will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Basin Recreation Trailside boardroom, 5715 Trailside Drive. More than 15 people attended the first open house that was held last month.

The management plan provides a framework for regulating the property, including trail access and allowed uses. Toll Canyon is a narrow open space parcel with five primary access points, three of which require users to cross private property or roads within the residential neighborhoods. It is mainly used by neighborhood residents and remains isolated from access to other trails.

When Utah Open Lands and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District purchased the property, it was placed under a conservation easement. The trails are identified as hiking-only and bike and equestrian access is restricted.

Several hundred comments have been submitted about the management plan since the public comment period opened Sept. 1. The responses have mostly expressed concerns about parking, equestrian and biking access, and wildlife protection.

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Part of the management plan refers to a conceptual map of a future trail network that would provide a connection to the Summit Park and Mid-Mountain trails. It is one of the major points of contention and has sparked debate among residents who want to limit the canyon’s accessibility.

"I think the challenge, which we found before we even put the management plan together, is that there are probably split opinions on how the canyon should be managed, so the public’s comments become a critical piece," said Wendy Fisher, executive director of Utah Open Lands. "One of the things in the comments I have found heartening, though, is that regardless of how people felt, they wanted to respect the canyon and ensure its ongoing health."

Fisher said the public’s comments are instrumental in understanding the concerns residents may have about the property’s future.

"I think what is important for people to understand is that their comments and their questions really do impact the plan for Toll Canyon and ultimately the stewardship of the canyon into the future," Fisher said.

Public comment will be accepted through Oct. 26. A draft of the management plan is expected to be available for the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District Board’s approval Nov. 18.

To view the Toll Canyon management plan or to submit public comment, go to http://basinrec.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/?appid=a9841c103588484496d0ac3978c3e2c0 .