A bill to bring more biking trails to Utah’s Salt Lake Valley has been fully approved by the federal government.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act (BSTAA) passed through Congress in December, and and President Joe Biden later signed it into law.
Located throughout the fast-growing Salt Lake Valley, the BSTAA will expand the famed Bonneville Shoreline Trail and bring more biking trails to the area. The bill accomplishes this by adjusting land management boundaries and adding more trail connections for a larger network.
Mountain bikers have led the movement to expand the trail, and the latest victory is the culmination of years of hard work, David Wiens, Executive Director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), said in a news release.
“This is a monumental and historic day for trails and mountain biking!” Wiens said. “We’re stoked.”
Though the Bonneville Shoreline Trail already passes through dozens of communities, there are still plans for further expansion. While more than 100 miles of trails have already been built, organizers hope it will stretch 280 miles from the Idaho border to Nephi, Utah.
A Coalition of Support
Other groups that support the trail expansion include the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee and Trails Utah, which introduced the bill in July 2020 and again in March 2021.
It’s been a long road to finally get the legislation passed. The IMBA has been involved in the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for more than 20 years, working with local stakeholders on planning and development.
The IMBA worked closely with Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) to make the bill a reality.
“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,” Sen. Romney said in the release. “I’m proud that our legislation has made it across the finish line.”
As Salt Lake City continues to grow, it’s important to provide more opportunities for recreation, Rep. Curtis said.
“As someone who loves walking and biking this trail, I am excited to bring greater access to more Utahns and proud to see this expansion pass into law.”
More Plans In the Works
Organizers at the IMBA have more ideas than just expanding the trail, however.
Small segments of overlapping wilderness designations currently prohibit biking on parts of the planned Bonneville Shoreline Trail. If that continues to be an issue, it would prevent the “full vision of a shared-use trail that connects six counties and more than one million residents in the Salt Lake Valley,” the group said.
But the bill makes progress on that issue by releasing 326 acres of wilderness divided over more than 20 locations. That will improve trail connections and sustainable trail development, the IMBA said. The bill also designates 326 acres of contiguous wilderness in Mill Creek Canyon to ensure the overall land area for wildlife remains the same.
Find more information and maps about the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act here.
For more history on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, enjoy a three-part series about how local communities made it a reality.