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Romney and Curtis propose extension of Bonneville Shoreline Trail

A pair of Utah congressmen say they're against the Great American Outdoors Act. (PHOTO: Entrance of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in City Creek Canyon. Credit, Paul Nelson)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. John Curtis, both R-Utah, filed a bill to free up 326 acres of land to expand the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

Expanding the trail

The bicameral bill named The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act would release over 20 areas of wilderness in Salt Lake and Utah Counties. It would also allow for the extension of the trail that skirts along the western edge of the Wasatch Mountains.

The proposal from the two Utah Republicans would free up management boundaries along the trail while also designating nearby U.S. Forest Service land for permanent protection.

“This legislation balances creating new recreational opportunities with protecting the environment,” Curtis said. “With a rapidly increasing population, Salt Lake and Utah Counties are in need of more widely accessible opportunities to hike, bike, and get outdoors. This legislation will do this in a responsible manner and help pave the way for all Utahns to enjoy this world-class trail.”

Where the expansion would go

Currently, the trail spans just over 100 miles along the area where the shoreline of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville was. The current plans seek to extend the trail another 180 miles. When finished, it would stretch between the Idaho border and Nephi, Utah

 “The Bonneville Shoreline Trail provides great outdoor recreational opportunities for Utahns, but several wilderness-designated areas along the trail are hampering full use of the trail and prohibiting bicyclists in those areas,” Romney said. “Our solution would adjust the boundaries without increasing wilderness area to ensure that the trail can be completed and fully accessible.”

Quoted in the release, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert voiced his support for the proposed legislation. Herbert said the trail can be both a good place to recreate and to learn about Utah’s history.

“The Bonneville Shoreline Trail has the potential to be both a beautiful recreational asset for Utah residents and a tool for teaching us about ancient Lake Bonneville and Utah’s fascinating geologic history. I’m very pleased to see the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act, which is the next step in the process of developing this beautiful trail,” he said.

You can find a link to the full text of the bill as well as a map of the proposed changes to management areas here.