December 23, 2013

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Article

New Trail to Expand Wasatch Back Trail System

By Heather Stewart

December 23, 2013

Park City – Right now it’s all about the fabulous powder on Utah’s slopes. But from spring through fall, outdoor enthusiasts hit the state’s mountain trails for biking, hiking and horseback riding. This spring, work will begin on a brand-new trail that, at nearly 23 miles, is set to be the longest non-motorized trail outside of the Wasatch Front.

The Wasatch Over Wasatch (WOW) trail will loop through Wasatch Mountain State Park, cutting briefly through Deer Valley Resort. The trail will open up new areas of the park for non-motorized activities, and it will connect to several other existing trail systems and campgrounds.

The WOW trail is the result of public and private contributions, said Charlie Sturgis, executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. That foundation partnered with the Wasatch Trails Alliance to spearhead the project, and it contributed $25,000 to the effort.

“Other types of funding came along because of the money that we put in,” said Sturgis.

The Mountain Trails Foundation, the Wasatch Trails Alliance and other donors pulled together more than $100,000 for the trail and, as a result, scored a $100,000 matching grant from the Utah Division of State Parks.

The $215,000 trail is essentially funded, said Sturgis, which will enable construction of the trail to begin in the spring. “It could be finished in one season,” he said.

Sturgis said investing in trails is an investment in the economy of the state and the health of the population. He noted that summer visitors to Utah spend on average $110 each day on food, shopping and recreational activities.

“The local rider isn’t worth as much, but they’re worth a lot because they’re out there riding almost every day,” he said, adding that avid bikers spend a lot of money buying, maintaining and replacing their equipment.

Trails also “create an environment where people can make positive lifestyle choices,” Sturgis said. “It’s an investment in the future for your kids and your grandkids.”

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