Connecting the Bonneville Shoreline Trail
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act furthers the long-distance dream for Utah’s famed Bonneville Shoreline Trail, while increasing opportunities for more trails close to home along Utah’s growing Wasatch Front. The Act passed into law in December 2022. Now, communities across the Salt Lake Valley must work together to complete the full 280-mile trail.
The trail would traverse six Utah counties in the Salt Lake Valley, home to 75% of the state’s residents. Better connections along the trail would give locals and regional enthusiasts alike more places to ride.
We can all give back to the trails that give us so much. From trail work days to outreach to fundraising, local stewardship organizations often have a variety of opportunities. In any community, you can also contact your local government directly to learn more about trail work.
Local voices matter for local trails. To advocate for trails in your backyard, start by learning more. What is your closest Bonneville Shoreline Trail access point? Is it protected and well-maintained? Is it on city or county land? Your local Parks and Recreation or Open Space council has representatives who can help answer these questions, as well as provide information or an ear in regard to plans and funding to expand multi-use trail access.
To learn more, find an area near you covered in the State of the BST video series. Brandon Plewe is traveling the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from Santaquin to Logan, Utah, to learn and share the status of trail development along dozens of Bonneville Shoreline Trail segments.
The Utah State Legislature is considering a plan to allocate dedicated funding that would acquire land for developing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Utahns can contact their state representatives to speak up in support of initiatives that help connect and complete the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
Don’t live in Utah? Wishing you did with this incredible trail access? Get involved locally for more or better trails near you. Read IMBA’s three-part advocacy series for ideas, inspiration and success in communities across the country.
"I love your effort to complete the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. As you surely know, the trail is a decades long project with both recreational and historical significance. It has the potential to be both a beautiful recreational asset for Utah residents and a tool for teaching us about ancient Lake Bonneville and Utah’s fascinating geologic history."
— Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox
As Northern Utahns, we all know the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Everyone is committed to seeing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail connected. We can pull together to get this done. We want trails, we need trails to maintain our way of life. The trail needs us all.”
— Sarah Bennett, Trails Utah Executive Director
Shaping the Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Small segments of overlapping Wilderness designations prohibited biking on parts of the trail, preventing the full vision for a multi-use trail that connects dozens of Utah communities. Many of these Wilderness sections neighbor what are now urban areas, but realigning the trail outside of Wilderness was not viable due to land management boundaries, private land and steep, rocky terrain. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act released 326 acres of Wilderness divided over more than 20 locations, to accommodate trail connections and sustainable trail development near population centers. The bill designated 326 acres of contiguous new wilderness in Mill Creek Canyon.
The bill was originally introduced in the 116th Congress in July 2020, in the House by Representative Curtis (R-UT) and in the Senate by Senator Romney (R-UT). It passed through Congress and was signed into law by President Biden on December 23, 2022.
“With the rapid growth in and around Salt Lake City, it is more important than ever to support new recreation opportunities such as the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. As someone who loves walking and biking this trail, I am excited to bring more awareness and greater access to Utahns.”
— U.S. Representative John Curtis (R-UT)
“If we get out of the house and away from the screens, we look at the trees, we look at the water, we see the mountains, the valleys – it helps us remember what’s important in life. It’s the people we’re walking with, the beauty of nature, it allows us to be more connected with the land and more connected with one another.”
— U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT)
More Trails on the Wasatch Front
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act furthers the long-distance dream for Utah’s famed Bonneville Shoreline Trail, while increasing opportunities for more trails close to home in Utah’s growing Salt Lake Valley. The bill passed into law in December 2022.
Creating more spectacular mountain biking in Utah's Wasatch Mountains requires more connectivity for multi-use trails. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act adjusts land management boundaries to create this connectivity.
“On the trail is a moment of thinking back on your journey in your life…Because everything out here goes back into nature…That’s that spirit of hope. That’s what brings life to the trail. And that’s why so many people want to be on the trail.”
— Rios Pacheco, Tribal Elder, NW Band of the Shoshone Nation
“The ability to be on a mountain bike and with a team is absolutely building resiliency in the teens. We want more trails for all, and the ability to connect multiple trailheads with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is just amazing.”
— Dallen Atack, Utah High School Cycling League League Director
The Story of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail
IMBA has been involved in the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for more than two decades. A three-part blog series explored how Trail Champions are helping move the Bonneville Shoreline from dirt to trail, featuring interviews with key local leaders, IMBA staff, Trust for Public Land, and other partners.
“It’s not an easy thing to do to get a piece of legislation specifically for a trail. The International Mountain Bicycling Association worked with Trails Utah and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee to get letters of support and to get the legislation written and pushed through Congress.”
— John Knoblock, Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee Chair
“This law has been led by mountain bikers and its passage is the culmination of years of hard work, relationship building, and collaboration. We’re stoked. This will help complete the long-awaited Bonneville Shoreline Trail and bring both long-distance opportunities and more trails close to home to residents of the Salt Lake Valley.”
— David Wiens, International Mountain Bicycling Association Executive Director
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act received the support of Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox as well as several local mayors and municipalities adjacent to the trail. Outdoor Alliance, PeopleforBikes, Trust for Public Land, and several local and regional trails organizations supported the bill. More than a dozen Utah businesses and dozens more bike and outdoor businesses signed letters of support for the legislation.