Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs into dispute between trail advocates and environmentalists

Utahns of all political stripes enjoy trails that connect their communities to the outdoors, but efforts to expand one of the state’s premier trails threaten to divide two groups of stakeholders that are normally allied on public lands issues: trail users and wilderness advocates.

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which contours along parts of the Wasatch foothills, tracks the edge of what was once a vast lake. But most of it persists as mere jagged lines on a map, particularly in the southern half of Salt Lake County, where deep canyons meet a heavily populated valley.

There, the trail is more of an aspiration than an actual pathway because private properties, extending above Olympus Cove, Millcreek, Holladay, Sandy and other Salt Lake City suburbs, effectively push future trail development into steep, rugged higher ground.

To avoid such parcels, trail proponents and the U.S. Forest Service outlined routes that climb far above neighborhoods into the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. But that presents another obstacle. In several key places, the trail would cross designated wilderness, which prohibits the use of mechanized equipment, including mountain bikes and motorized trail-building tools.

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