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Letter: Recreation opportunities in the Oquirrhs

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Oquirrh Mountains are lit up by the early morning sun as recently retired Dr. Rick Anderson makes sure his dog Buddy gets a little exercise at on the slopes of Bonneville Golf Course on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. "My job is now skiing," said Anderson with plans to head to Alta for some fresh tracks on his own.

When Salt Lake County residents think of the Oquirrh Mountains, many only envision mining and landfills. However, that is about to change.

Our growing west-side population, combined with the COVID-induced rush to the outdoors, has created an explosion of interest in open space, mountain biking and trails.

Enthused parents, volunteers, landowner partners, and more, are set to usher in a recreational inflection point for Salt Lake Valley. It’s going to be a win for all of us, and I am excited to be part of it. Miles of trails and acres and acres of accessible open space can soon be a reality in Butterfield Canyon, meeting the pent-up demand of youth mountain biking and outdoor recreation.

Salt Lake County boasts tremendous participation and growth for youth mountain bikers. Yet parents and kids on the west side of Salt Lake County are forced to sit in traffic, on clogged east/west corridors, as they trek across the county, into the Cottonwood Canyons, to practice on summer trails at the ski resorts.

Creating desperately needed bike trails in the Oquirrhs would reduce auto congestion on our city streets and help improve air quality. This welcoming youth sport greatly improves the physical and mental health of our children and it facilitates and encourages dispersed recreation in Salt Lake County, reducing the overburden on the east bench canyons.

In addition, this tremendous asset will provide great financial benefits via hosted races. And, last but not least, summer trail improvements may compliment year-round activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The locals have already raised an impressive $200,000, and participants welcome hikers, horseback riders and ATVs with a commitment of shared access.

Come join us as we celebrate our tremendous resource. the Oquirrh Mountains, and be part of this exciting and desperately needed opportunity.

Dave Alvord
former mayor of South Jordan and a candidate for Salt Lake County Council District 2
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