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Hit the trail, the 230-mile trail! That's what regional planners and advocates are hoping Utahns and visitors will someday be able to do, thanks to an ambitious proposal to link existing Wasatch Front walking and biking routes into a loop.
The plan would connect existing trails, like the one on the Jordan River, with others along the Wasatch Front and Wasatch Back to form a 230-mile circuit.
A lot of the time, a big dream starts with a big idea. Park City resident Carol Potter is happy to tell you all about hers. It's a simple plan to link most of Utah's population via a 230-mile non-motorized trail.
Potter also is executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. She said, "It is such drastically changing scenery. People would really enjoy seeing all the different scenery you can see along here. Plus, there's water and there's the rivers." The plan would link existing trails with 100 miles of new trails.
It could connect seven counties through Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo and then looping over through the Wasatch Back to Park City and back around again.
Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said, "We're calling it the Wasatch Loop Trail. [It has] infinite possibilities because it's a figure eight, if you look. And the connection of the figure eight is the Parley Pathways trail up Parley's Canyon."
Riley Shepard, a seventh grader in Park City, said, "I think that it's great. I'd love to be able to ride my bike to the Jordanelle and be able to ride longer trips to Echo and places like that."
To make it a reality, trail advocates need to convince Congress this should be one of 40 projects nationwide to receive "active transportation" grant money, money they say will come back to Utah in the form of millions of dollars from visitors.
Carol Potter said, "Tourism. People have called it a credit card trail. Put your credit card in the back pocket, stay overnight in Park City. Stay overnight in Coalville. Stay overnight in Ogden. Stay overnight all the way."
So far, about 60 percent of the necessary trails already exist. Organizers are hoping, if they get the money from the federal government, to complete the Wasatch Loop by roughly 2015.
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