Change is most definitely in the air. As my friend Julie alluded to recently, the collision of seasons, fall to winter in particular, is one of the most spectacular displays we get to experience here along the Wasatch Back. And I think we can all agree that this particular fall has been a visual feast, thanks to Mother Nature’s perfect timing with the autumn leaves peaking and a fresh snowfall sprinkled in the mix. How lucky are we to get to experience this force of nature?
Speaking of change and forces of nature, our own Tim McChesney has taken a professional trail-building position with local trail contractor, Creative Trails. He’ll be working on an exciting new trail development project at Brighton ski resort this coming year. Tim joined our team in 2019, looking for an outdoor summer job to complement his winter gig as a professional skier. Tim has played an active role in every major project that we’ve completed over the past 5 years including Cyn City, Charlie’s 9K and Mother Urban, to name a few. More recently, Tim headed up the builds on Sparky and Cousin Eddie at Clark Ranch along with the recent overhaul of Mojave. While we hate to see him go, we wish him all the best and are super-excited to experience Tim’s future projects, first-hand.
Last week, Derek Thomson and Apex Trails, hired by MTF, wrapped up a major overhaul on the Silver Quinn downhill bike trail at Park City Mountain. This trail has been a heavily-used workhorse for lift-served riders off of the Crescent lift since we first built it several years ago – and it was in desperate need of a refresh. Derek and his team, who specialize in this type of trail, cleaned up the tread, enlarged and extended the turns and created a wider footprint to accommodate adaptive cyclists – all changes for the better. This project was one of several maintenance projects funded in part by a Recreation Restoration Infrastructure grant through the Utah Division office of Outdoor Recreation.
Changes will also be taking place in the not-too-distant future with the Lower Spiro trail. Our team, along with volunteers and trail artist, Chase Smith, spent the past few weeks putting the finishing touches on the highly anticipated Seldom Seen trail. It will open to the public today, Friday, 10/6 and can be accessed just below the Lower Spiro/HAM intersection.
With the opening of Seldom Seen, a directionality change will take place on LOWER Spiro as it becomes “uphill only” for bikes. Upper Spiro will remain bi-directional, as it has always been.
The purpose of this change is multi-faceted. The first, most important, facet is safety for all trail users. Lower Spiro has long been a safety concern, as heavy, fast downhill bike traffic is pushed onto a bi-directional, multi-use trail, where conflict between hikers and bikers has become problematic.
Removing downhill bike traffic from Lower Spiro, it becomes a key piece of a safe, hike-friendly zone. Champion’s Hiking Loop, part of this zone, incorporates Silver Spur, Armstrong and Dawn’s trails.
The second reason for this change is trail sustainability. Spiro was built almost 30 years ago when trail building technology, bike technology and trail traffic patterns were much different. As such, despite our best efforts, with years of heavy, fast downhill bike traffic, Lower Spiro has deteriorated beyond reasonable industry maintenance standards.
The last reason for this change is fun factor. As a dedicated bike trail, Seldom Seen creates a flowy, fun alternative designed FOR downhill bike traffic. You’ll see high banked turns, erosion matting to keep the trail in fast condition, and loads of natural features for more advanced riders. We’re killing two birds with one stone here. Bikes can now safely let it rip on a dedicated flow trail and, by removing dangerous downhill bike traffic from Lower Spiro, we’re also creating a serene area for hikers.
A lot of thought, planning and effort goes into each and every change we make to our local trail system, whether it be large-scale maintenance projects, a signage overhaul or a new, purpose-built, trails. Thanks for trusting us to be stewards of this amazing resource that we’re all so passionate about. We don’t take any of it for granted.
Have a great fall, y’all!
Rick Fournier, Trails Manager