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Meet Basin Recreation Trail Ranger Ben Pearson

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — In late 2020, Basin Recreation recognized the need for a dedicated position that would help with information, public outreach, and enforcement of the trailhead parking regulations.

With the help of Summit County Attorney Margaret Olsen, the legal groundwork was laid for a staff member who could provide much-needed regulation and enforcement at our busiest and most heavily used trails and access points.

Progress was made with the passage of the appropriate county ordinances, development of the Basin Recreation Enforcement Policy, arrangement of the Administrative Law Judge services, and the acquisition of the software necessary for processing citations. With that, the Basin Recreation Trail Program was born.

Frequent trail users around the Snyderville Basin will certainly recognize Basin Recreation’s Trail Ranger Ben Pearson.

Ben started with Basin in the parks department as a seasonal employee and by the end of his first season, his skills and positive attitude made him a top candidate for the new Trail position in January 2021.

With his calm and personable demeanor and true love of the trails, Ben has been instrumental in shaping the future of the program. We asked Ben last week if he would answer some questions and share his thoughts to let our users get to know him a bit better, and although Ben is a man of few words, he was happy to comply.

Question:   What’s something that makes you unique and completely different from anyone else?

Answer:   I can’t be replaced, there is no one quite like me.

Q:   What is the best compliment that you’ve ever received?

A:   I have a great smile

Q:   What makes you the happiest?

A:   When people are getting along and happy. I enjoy seeing good interactions and hearing positive conversations.

Q:   What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A:   Something my dad would say: “Forget and move on but always follow the rules.”

Q:   What are you most proud of when it comes to your personal life?

A:   My family, they are number one in my life.

Q:   What do you do to keep yourself motivated and inspired in this work?

A:   That’s an excellent question! I really enjoy what I do even when I get lonely and bored. It makes my day when people want to talk and engage about the trails and recreation. My job is to make each encounter positive, and I work each shift to make that happen.

Q:   What led you to your job here as the Basin Trail Ranger?

A:   I grew up in Park City going to school at Jeremy Ranch, Ecker Hill and PC High. I spent my childhood playing hockey and working all sorts of jobs in the area including serving ice cream at Cold Stone to the local ski resorts. For a while, I moved to Idaho and worked at the penitentiary but ended up coming back to Utah. I always wanted to work in enforcement and be in the outdoors, so this Basin job seemed to be the perfect fit. I started with Basin as a seasonal parks employee, and by the end of my first summer found out Basin was looking for an enforcement guy. With enforcement in my background, I thought it would be a good opportunity to use my skills in this position.

Q: What is something that you would change about the job?

A: I would rather do more education and social interaction and less enforcement. I believe that the problems are not what the department projected or expected, but instead are slightly different than first anticipated. How can those problems be solved? By communication and signage, providing positive examples of trail usage, and less frequently some hard enforcement.

Q:   What’s something that would surprise people about you?

A:   I can be a very social person when around other people, but I am best in small groups and one-on-one is my favorite. Also, I’m into disc golf and though I don’t look it, I am fairly athletic and have good hand-eye coordination.

Q:   What is one of the worst things you’ve ever seen in your job?

A:   The Parleys Canyon Fire was a roller coaster event. I had to stay calm and in control. The home that I grew up in was in the path of the fire and I had to call my family to tell them they needed to get out. One thing I learned from that event was that you can’t let your feelings get in the way of what needs to be done.

Q:   What do you want people to know about the trails?

A:   The trails are a special place to me and everyone that uses them.  People should remember this and treat them as such, a public space that deserves respect. Our trails are a place to go for soothing your soul. A calm environment and not a place for negative atmosphere or interactions. I hope my position can help people to appreciate and use the trails with respect.

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