Mountain Trails Foundation unveils summer 2018 projects
On Wednesday, the Mountain Trails Foundation hosted its annual Mountain Madness meeting in Park City. The event drew interested parties from around the county and state, including Basin Recreation, Deer Valley, the Park City Fire Department, Summit County Lands Conservancy, Utah Open Lands, Park City Municipal, outdoor company Black Diamond and others. The event allowed organizations to debut their plans for summer, largely concerning trails, trail building and conservation.
“It’s the old cliché of ‘it takes a village,’” said Charlie Sturgis, executive director of Mountain Trails Foundation of the room full of people at the Hilton DoubleTree in Park City. ‘Well, ultimately it takes a village, and having community support and being able to muster funds through other organizations and grants, that’s what makes this go.”
Mountain Trails unveiled several projects, including major changes to the Bloods Lake trail and parking lot at Guardsman Pass, new trails at Round Valley and Park City Mountain Resort, as well as a reroute on Jenny’s Trail.
Mountain Trails has planned a two-mile hiking trail to Bloods Lake in Bonanza Flat, a plot of land acquired by the city last June, which will lead through stands of conifers and granite rockbands to the lake.
The area is in the process of becoming a conservation easement, but Sturgis said the trail is likely to be approved by the stakeholders, such as Utah Open Lands and the Summit Land Conservancy.
After the easement is finalized, Sturgis said Mountain Trails will likely close the Guardsman Pass trailhead and move the parking lot down 500 feet in elevation – about a mile from its current location.
The resulting trail will be built “with sustainability in mind,” he said.
“It will be a longer walk, but it will be a better walk,” Sturgis added.
There will be no biking on the trail – a choice meant to meet the pending easement’s ethos on water, wildlife and wild lands conservation.
“Causing an increase in the use doesn’t meet those ideals,” he said. “When we move that parking lot down — it’s a given fact that the longer it takes to get to a place, the further it is, the less people go — so we’re managing the crowd by limiting the ease of access.”
In addition, Fournier said the organization would shut down unapproved trails leading down into Bonanza Flats from the current parking lot.
“Most of them are not sustainable,” he said. “They just go right down the fall line and are pretty rutted out.”
Mountain Trails will re-vegetate the trails for erosion control, and plans to start building the Bloods Lake Hiking Trail in July.
Mountain Trails is building a directional downhill trail about one and a half mile in length, running from the top of Rademan Ridge at the Rambler/Tin Man intersection down to Old Ranch Road trailhead.
“It will provide a really nice loop option when you provide it with Happy Gilmore and Tin Man to get back up,” said Rick Fournier, Mountain Trails Foundation field manager. “We’ve already started on that and will have that done in the next 3 to 4 weeks.”
He said the trail will be intermediate in difficulty, starting with flowing switchbacks through groves of mahogany and around flagstone-coated banked turns that drop down into a long, undulating stretch across the drainage’s west face.
“It’s going to probably be one of the most fun trails you’ll see in Round Valley,” Fournier said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Tommy’s Two Step Bypass
Mountain Trails Foundation is also building a downhill directional trail from near the top of Tommy’s Two Step, which will connect the top of PCMR’s Crescent Lift to Mid Mountain trail via a northeastern descent.
Fournier said the trail will alleviate hiker and biker traffic coming off of Crescent and provide an easier way down than Two Step or Tommy’s Two Step, the latter of which will become an uphill directional trail. Fournier said it should also help hikers coming up Tommy’s Two Step.
“They won’t have bikers bearing down on them,” he said.
The connector trail and accompanying change of Tommy’s Two Step to uphill-only is scheduled to be completed by mid-summer.
The lower section of Jenny’s Trail will be rerouted to adjust to changes to the landscape from an Environmental Protection Agency cleanup of mine tailings in the area.
“The EPA finally came in and removed all the tailings, but it changed the grade substantially when they did that,” Fournier said.
A short section of the trail, which is somewhat close to where Park City Mountain Resort’s Payday and Bonanza lifts converge, will be rerouted farther north at its base, skirting around the tailing field.
“It’s a super short section, but something that needs to be done, otherwise you’re forced to take a service road up, which is fairly steep,” Fournier said.
The re-route should be finished in the next few weeks.
Also, Mountain Trails will debut a new map displaying trails laid over an aerial photo rather than a colored topographic map as in former editions, which Fournier said will hopefully give people a better idea of the scale of the area.
It will also include more Utah Olympic Park trails and a greater continual coverage area.
Check the next edition of the Park Record for information about new trails from South Summit Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation.
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