The Park Record editorial, September 16-18, 2009 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record editorial, September 16-18, 2009

Trails R Us, and they need our support

This week’s rain may put a temporary damper on local trail traffic, but runners, bikers and horseback riders are sure to return as soon as the sun does. Park City has a stellar trail system that just seems to keep on growing.

The easy access to Park City’s backcountry is something residents may take for granted but represents years of planning and negotiating. Issues like parking, connections and signage have all been carefully thought out and executed to maximize enjoyment and minimize conflict with landowners and among users.

For the most part, the efforts of the Mountain Trails Foundation, Summit County and Park City Municipal to provide public, non-motorized trails have been wildly successful. Hundreds of cyclists and runners now travel unimpeded through Round Valley, a sage-covered landscape once crisscrossed with barbwire. Elsewhere, cyclists skim over scenic peaks on challenging loops designed to wear them out and then deposit them safely back where they started.

The system is the envy of many other communities and has earned accolades from groups like the International Mountain Biking Association.

Further proof of local trail planners’ success was evident last Saturday as more than 200 people participated in the annual Mid Mountain Marathon.

But, like all fast growing organisms, Park City’s trail system verges on being unwieldy. New trails are being carved while older ones are in need of a little TLC. Popular trails suffer from signs of overuse, like rutting and crowding, while others go undiscovered. And as the system continues to grow, it laps over jurisdictional boundaries requiring even more complicated legal wrangling and cooperative maintenance.

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All of these challenges are surmountable, but they need manpower and money. That means taking a little time to pick up litter, to help novice trail users, and to show up at volunteer maintenance days. It also includes making contributions to the Mountain Trails Foundation and attending public hearings regarding trail issues.

Park City’s vast and stunning trail system is one of the community’s most valuable amenities. As such it deserves to be nurtured with utmost care. To find out more about how to support local non-motorized trails visitwww.mountaintrails.org.