UVTA Project Portfolio
Trail Planning, Construction, Stewardship
Since its inception, UVTA has successfully managed the process of bringing together citizens and stakeholders on several trails projects. We look forward to future projects.
UVTA was first created by the Mountainland Association of Governments to organize community involvement as the Timpanogos Wildlife Management Area (state-owned land north of Orem) considered how to manage the numerous social trails that had emerged on its property, especially as mountain biking was increasing exponentially. Although the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and the Great Western Trail had officially passed through the WMA since the late 90s, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), who owns and manages the WMA, has no mandate or funding for managing trails or outdoor recreation beyond hunting (the land was purchased in 1947 and is managed largely from hunting license fees, not state taxes). The increased presence of bikes was scaring away the game, especially during the winter, and the state considered fencing off the entire property and forbidding any public access.
Fortunately, through several public meetings, dozens of citizens were able to work with DWR to develop an official trail plan that was released in summer 2019. This includes 20 miles of formerly illegal trails that were designated and supported on the DWR, while protecting the most crucial winter habitat for deer and elk. Since then, volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours to improve these trails, and remove trails that were not part of the plan. After the 2020 Range Fire burned most of the vegetation in the WMA, much of the area was temporarily closed to public access, and volunteers again helped to revegetate erosion-prone areas and prepare the trails for reopening in 2021.
In 2022, UVTA received a state Outdoor Recreation Grant, which we are currently using to hire professional trail builders to improve several problematic trails, initially focusing on the lower, more heavily used part of the WMA.
UWC National Forest, Lindon-Pleasant Grove
As we completed the WMA plan, it became obvious that the trail network there was only part of a larger social trail system that extended north above Lindon, Pleasant Grove, and Cedar Hills. This land is within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, which does have a multiple-use mandate for a variety of trail users (although motorized vehicles were banned from this area in 2005), but the Pleasant Grove Ranger District saw a need to get a handle on the increasing usage of social/illegal trails, including new "rogue" trails still being built. UVTA repeated the community planning process for this area, developing a plan that included designating 25 new miles of trail in the areas around the Dry Canyon and Grove Creek trailheads, including 2.5 more miles of Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The plan went through the mandatory approval procedure of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), becoming official in 2020. As part of our Outdoor Recreation Grant, and with the help of our volunteers, we are currently improving these trails, signing them, and preparing for a grand opening in 2022.
Official NEPA documents, including the December 2019 decision of Categorical Exclusion
Timp Foothills Trails Group
Over its history, much of the attention of UVTA has been dominated by this "Timp Foothills" area. After the Range Fire, a local group of volunteers began to form to organize work projects and adopt the new trails, with the help of UVTA and the Orem Youth Cycling Association. Currently, they have a Facebook page. In 2022, we are helping this group become formally organized so they can continue to care for this popular and important area for the long term, and UVTA can more effectively focus on the entire county.
Provo Foothills Trails Master Plan (Provo City, UWC National Forest)
Across Provo Canyon from this area, along the Squaw Peak Road, is another area that has become crisscrossed by social trails. The Forest Service asked UVTA to help develop a trails plan for this area that is potentially much larger than the previous projects. Because of its proximity to Provo City, who is also a significant land owner in this area, we brought them in as a partner to develop an integrated master plan for the entire area above the city, from Provo Canyon to Slate Canyon. A diverse task force was formed, who evaluated the current trails and potential uses, including holding public meetings and gathering input from the community (virtually during CoVID), to develop a plan that attempts to provide opportunities for a variety of users. The proposed plan was completed in 2021, and is currently being reviewed by Provo City and the National Forest for official adoption. Once it is approved, a multi-year implementation effort will begin.
County-wide Trail Inventory and Plan
In 2018, UVTA began the process of developing a county-wide foothills trail vision plan. First, planning and GIS students from the BYU Geography Department created an inventory map of all trail-like features (official trails, social trails, even game tracks), with the north county completed in 2018, the south county in 2019, and the west hills in 2020. Several public meetings were held in different parts of the county to identify the trails that are most used and popular, which should be designated as official trails. This process informed the above plans, although this initiative is currently on hiatus as we focus on more locally-focused projects.