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New trailhead for Bell Canyon under construction, will help with more than parking issues

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 27, 2021

SANDY, Utah — Bell Canyon in Sandy is getting a new multi-million-dollar preservation trailhead late this summer.

Back in 2018, the city bought more than 10 acres of land near Wasatch Boulevard and Little Cottonwood Road for about $1.7 million. The preservation trailhead project is costing the city about $5 million. There was also an additional cost of about $100,000 in cleanup efforts such as asbestos pipe removal, as well as cleanup of chemicals, oil and other contaminants.

“This area was full of a lot of debris and garbage, and we spent a lot of time and effort cleaning up,” Sandy City Parks and Recreation director Dan Medina said.

The new trailhead will include 131 parking spots, a bathroom, a picnic area and a helipad.

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“It is helping with traffic, it is helping with the fire department and their efforts with incidences that happen in area, it is preserving an area that would otherwise be developed into houses and reduces the impacts of what the homes would cause in that area,” Medina said.

The new trailhead will help with search and rescue efforts, as well as forest firefighting.

“We have a variety of rescues up the canyon each year, and we can have a helicopter land in the grass area over there," Sandy City Fire Deputy Chief Ryan McConaghie said. "We can set up a command post there and have better visuals of the reservoir and the canyon."

In the past, it has been a challenge to get all of the emergency vehicles and volunteers up the canyon because of parking issues, and the area where crews set up did not provide a good perspective of the canyon; this will change that.

“It will be a potential fire command base and helipad for a helicopter to land and even do dipping operations out of a portable 6,000-gallon water tank we can put up there,” McConaghie said.

The new trailhead will help with firefighting missions beyond just in Bell Canyon, he said.

“There is that whole Dimple Dell Park that follows the river and goes right through the heart of Sandy. That will provide an excellent overview and look out and command post,” McConaghie said.

There is a lot of focus on nature preservation and education as well, Medina said.

“There are also preservation aspects in there to protect the watershed and other aspects of nature,” he added.

The project is expected to be completed in August.