SALT LAKE COUNTY -- A community trail in Salt Lake County crossed a major milestone Friday, as it expands to link neighborhoods.
Parley's Trail through Tanner Park is now complete. The first bicycle riders and hikers hit the trail Friday morning.
Parley's Trail is the paved bicycle and pedestrian trail that eventually will stretch from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail at the mouth of Parley's Canyon all the way to the Jordan River.
With the snip of a bicycle tire inner tube, Phase III of Parley's Trail opened another mile of the long-term project. Bikers and walkers headed down the trail and plunged into Tanner Park.
Juan Arce-Larreta, Parley's Rails, Trails and Tunnels Coalition Chairman (PRATT) says it's another piece in bringing disconnected neighborhoods together without getting in a car.
"It's a class-one trail," says Arce-Larreta. "Class-one trail means that you don't have to interact with cars. So a kid can get on here and be safe. Bikers can get on here and they don't have to wait for cars."
Arce-Larreta says the project seemed daunting a couple of decades ago when he first talked about the vision with a co-worker. Now it's rolling along.
"Trails that we can get on that link green spaces, that link communities," he says. "That's what we're trying to do -- bring communities together through safe, alternative transportation routes."
The trail takes a steep grade in places and rolls through beautiful terrain. It roughly follows the Interstate 80/Parley's Creek corridor. When complete, it will run eight miles, pass through Sugar House and even roll under 1300 East.
That underpass is one of the next projects.
"There's a lot of pieces going on at different times and we look forward to the day when the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and the Jordan River Trail are connected," Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon told the crowd.
This segment cost $2 million -- 80 percent federal funding and $400,000 in matching money from Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. Private donors have pitched in nearly $300,000 throughout the project and put up money for more than 300 plants and trees.
Volunteers planted more than 100 trees Friday morning and will head out again Saturday. Arce-Larreta says the trail will add to the beauty of the area and the plants will be well maintained.
"This is our baby," he says. "This is PRATT's baby. The community is going to step up and continue to maintain this trail, I'm positive."