WASHINGTON, DC — Utah's popular Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) could be open be new construction to enhance recreation under legislation introduced on March 30 by Representative John Curtis (UT-3rd District) and Senator Mitt Romney.
Under the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act, also supported by the rest of Utah's congressional delegation, boundaries of the BST would be adjusted so that existing wilderness protection areas would be open for public use. The legislation would also designate nearby U.S. Forest Service land for permanent protection.
“This legislation balances creating new recreational opportunities with protecting the environment,” said Curtis. “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 is a responsible manner and help pave the way for all Utahns to enjoy this world class trail.”
The Act would release 326 acres of wilderness in Salt Lake and Utah Counties to enable greater recreational use, while creating a wilderness designation for the same amount of land formerly owned by the Boy Scouts of America in Mill Creek Canyon, among other provisions.
“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,” said Romney. “We are reintroducing our legislation to adjust the boundaries of the trail to ensure that construction can be fully completed and Utahns can enjoy its wide range of recreational opportunities for many years to come.”
Several recreational and public land organizations support the legislation, as well as Utah Governor Spencer Cox.
“In 2017, Utah’s outdoor recreation economy generated more than $12.3 billion in consumer spending and directly supported more than 100,000 jobs in Utah," said Bill Lee, Senior Vice President for Policy, Advocacy, and Government Relations, The Trust for Public Land, who also said the Act would provide recreational enthusiasts more opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.