Shoreline Trail public meeting tonight!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Shoreline Trail public meeting tonight!

    So... the Forest Service has finally released their Environmental Assessment for the Shoreline Trail... another step along the way to having a complete route! The public comment meeting is being held tonight so it would be great to have a large mountain biking group there!

    The important stuff is here:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/wcnf/projects/proposed/

    And here:

    In conjunction with this comment period, an Open House will be held from
    7:00-9:00 P.M. on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, at the Salt Lake County
    Council Chambers, located at:

    County Government Center
    2001 South State Street, #N1100
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84190

    Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, oral, and electronic comments
    concerning this action will be accepted for 30 calendar days following the
    publication of the Legal Notice in the Salt Lake Tribune.
    This is the email I received - some of you might have received the same thing.

    Dear Reader:
    July, 10 2007

    This letter is to inform you of the opportunity to comment on the
    Bonneville Shoreline Trail Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA). This
    Preliminary EA analyzes a proposal (Proposed Action) to provide a quality,
    non-motorized recreation trail network that follows, to the degree
    possible, the shoreline of the ancient Lake Bonneville. The segment of the
    proposed Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) being considered is generally
    located on the east bench of the Salt Lake Valley, in Salt Lake County,
    Utah. National Forest System (NFS) lands involved in the proposal are
    located within the Salt Lake Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National
    Forest. The Proposed Action would implement the Wasatch-Cache National
    Forest's land management plan regarding this trail, and do so in a manner
    that is consistent with the character envisioned for the BST.

    The Proposed Action is to use existing sections of trail in some locations
    and construct new trail segments in other locations from Parley’s Canyon,
    south to Hidden Valley Park in Sandy. Currently, the BST in Salt Lake
    County is completed from City Creek, southward to Parley’s Canyon, and from
    Hidden Valley Park, south to Corner Canyon in Draper. Some segments of the
    proposed trail would be located on lands not under Forest Service
    jurisdiction. Any future decision would apply only to NFS lands. However,
    in order to address all of the connected actions associated with the
    proposal, the analysis will evaluate the effects of implementing the
    project irrespective of land ownership or jurisdiction. Among the effects
    examined in the Preliminary EA are impacts on vegetation, wildlife,
    recreation, Wilderness areas, open space, visual quality and aesthetics,
    traffic, soils, water resources, cultural resources, wildfire, and private
    property.

    The Preliminary EA examines the effects of implementing the Proposed Action
    and two other alternatives. Among the later is the No Action Alternative,
    which considers the impacts of not implementing this proposal and not
    completing this section of the BST in Salt Lake County. A third
    alternative evaluates the impact of locating the route in another location.
    The Preliminary EA is available on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest
    website at:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/wcnf/projects/proposed

    If you are unable to access the website, please call the Salt Lake Ranger
    District at 733-2689 or 733-2685 and a copy of the Preliminary EA will made
    available upon request.

    This comment period is to provide the public an opportunity to provide
    meaningful participation on a proposed action prior to the decision being
    made by the Responsible Official. You are receiving this letter because you
    showed an interest in the project by responding during the scoping period
    or may be an interested party. Anyone providing comments or otherwise
    expressing interest in the proposed action by the end of the comment period
    specified in 36 CFR 215.6 will be eligible to appeal the decision pursuant
    to 36 CFR part 215 regulations.

    In conjunction with this comment period, an Open House will be held from
    7:00-9:00 P.M. on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, at the Salt Lake County
    Council Chambers, located at:

    County Government Center


    2001 South State Street, #N1100


    Salt Lake City, Utah 84190

    Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, oral, and electronic comments
    concerning this action will be accepted for 30 calendar days following the
    publication of the Legal Notice in the Salt Lake Tribune. The publication
    date in the newspaper of record is the exclusive means for calculating the
    comment period. Those wishing to comment should not rely on timeframes
    provided by any other source. Regulations prohibit extending the length of
    the comment period.

    Written comments are being accepted by District Ranger Loren Kroenke, on
    behalf of the Responsible Official, Forest Supervisor Faye Krueger.
    Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message,
    rich text format (.rtf) or Word (.doc) to
    [email protected], or submit comments to:

    Salt Lake Ranger District
    Wasatch-Cache National Forest
    6944 South 300 East
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84121
    (Fax number 801-733-2684)

    Business office hours for hand-delivered comments are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30
    p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. For questions about this
    Preliminary EA and the environmental review process, please contact Steve
    Scheid by phone at 801-733-2689, or by email at [email protected].

    Sincerely,

    Loren M. Kroenke
    District Ranger

  2. #2
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    course, i didn't go. i did read that huge PDF from the FS. Pretty interesting. What's your take - will they allow mtb through the tiny sections of wilderness, or will those sections be basically off limits ( for all intensive purposes ruining any coolness factor for mtbikers ... still a good idea to stop money grubbing developers from building houses on the benches )

  3. #3

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    So... here's the report on the public meeting.

    Only about 25 people in total showed up, which surprised me. At the last such meeting there were about 150 people. Like last time, there seemed to be an even split between trail advocates and opponents. Two of the opponents in particular were quite vocal. I was a bit disappointed that the biking community didn't make a stronger showing. There were a grand total of two of us.

    Most of the meeting was dedicated to rehashing the contents of the document I posted links to earlier (http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/wcnf/projects/proposed/). However, we also talked to the Forest Service people for a while after the meeting was officially over.

    Some interesting things:

    1) They themselves are bikers and runners who make use of the trail systems. My feeling is that they are in favor of completing the Shoreline Trail. The person who is officially responsible for making the decision lives in Park City and uses the trails there all the time. They realize that there is a vocal minority opposed to the Shoreline Trail, but that the vast majority of valley residents are in favor of it.

    2) The trail construction work on Mill D this year and the Pipeline last year is not intended to "dumb down" the trail, but rather to control erosion, which is apparently a big problem on those trails. The Forest Service guys are frustrated that people are interpreting the action as anti-bike in some way. As far as the Pipeline widening goes, that was done by machine for financial reasons - with more funding, they could have had people dig out the trail by hand in the areas where it was eroding, but for some reason (I'll leave that part up to you), the Forest Service isn't getting appropriate funding to carry things out the best way in every situation.

    3) They are not adamantly opposed to the construction of new freeride/downhill trails, and in fact, they have actually taken the initiative and approached Brighton and Snowbird about building freeride trails *with features* at the resorts. The status of the Little Cottonwood trail is still unclear. I talked to the guy directly responsible for ordering its destruction a couple of years ago. He knows that it is in use again, but he said that he's become more aware and understanding of the position that freeriders find themselves in (i.e., lack of suitable trails). He believes that something needs to be done to provide more options, and that the most appropriate place for that would be at the resorts. Read into that what you may with regards to the Little Cottonwood Trail itself.

    So lift-served freeride/downhill at the Cottonwood Canyon resorts might actually be a possibility? Snowbird runs a number of its lifts year-round, so that would probably be the most logical place to start. The infrastructure is in place, and running, so trail construction would be the biggest issue for them. (Well, and liability insurance, but Snowbird alread does offer lift-served mountain biking, so our resident lawyer might have to comment on this one.) New trails on Forest Service land would still have to go through the whole Forest Service process, which doesn't happen overnight. However, he did throw out 2009 as a possible timeframe. The Forest Service would not have funds available to actually build the trails... but with resort funding and a dedicated freeride trails organization with significant experience in trail building, who knows...

    I always thought that the Forest Service would never approve any freeride-type trails around here... but apparently that's not the case! There is a ray of sunshine peeking through the hazy smoke!

    4) I talked to them about the wilderness/bikes issue with the Shoreline Trail and voiced that as one of my concerns. They have tried to find a route that crosses wilderness as little as possible, but in some cases the wilderness boundary comes right up to someone's back yard, so there may not be any way to avoid it in some cases. Still, they said that if we had any ideas about how to address this (i.e. alternate routes that don't cross wilderness, alternate trail access points) that we should submit those as suggestions.

    5) Comment period ends August 13, so there is plenty of time to make an e-mail or written comment. They are also open to face-to-face discussions, which could have a lot more impact than e-mail.

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much for a really good report on this. You are right to be disappointed - more of us should have showed up....myself included.

    quick question:
    Was the gist of the wilderness thing that if the trail crossed the wilderness, even for a tiny bit, bikers would not be allowed to ride through that part of the trail? Seems like they could bend the rules there, but I guess Wilderness designation is a pretty strong thing. Unfortunately, by blocking out those tiny sections of trail, you sort of make the whole thing almost useless for bikers, since we could only ride in certain sections, and not really go from point A to B on the trail.

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