Summit County begins process of attempting to acquire ownership of the Rail Trail

If acquired, Summit County currently has no plans to alter the Rail Trail in any way, shape or form

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – Shayne Scott, the Summit County manager, recently submitted a Letter of Intent to explore the possibility of the County taking over ownership of the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail from Utah State Parks.

This preliminary agreement initiates a comprehensive examination to assess the viability and implications of acquiring the property.

The Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail stretches more than 25 miles, and traverses a stretch of Summit County from Echo Canyon to Park City. Union Pacific abandoned the railroad line in 1989 and in 1992 it was then dedicated as the first non-motorized rail trail in Utah.

“The Rail Trail is a treasured corridor through the heart of our county,” Scott said. “We look forward to conversations with the public to hear their ideas, concerns and desires related to this property. Nothing is decided at this point, but this letter is an important initial step in the process.”

Summit County would not pay any upfront costs to acquire the Rail Trail from Utah State Parks, but the county would takeover funding related to management and maintenance. Summit County is currently assessing funding options regarding maintenance and management if ownership is required.

If acquired, Summit County currently has no plans to alter the Rail Trail in any way, shape or form, including paving. Summit County would also refrain from implementing usage fees on the public.

The potential acquisition will not change management of the section of the trail within Park City Municipal.

“Utah State Parks greatly values our ongoing relationship with Summit County,” said Scott Strong, Utah State Parks director.

“The Rail Trail has been one of the most unique offerings in our state park system since its dedication over 30 years ago. We look forward to continuing working through this process to ensure a future that benefits both the trail and its visitors.”

Summit County is currently progressing by delving into easement particulars, legal prerequisites, and environmental assessments, alongside evaluating operational expenses. Following this thorough examination, the Summit County Council will decide whether to take ownership of the property.

Summit County recently completed an 18-month period of community involvement and assessment of the Rail Trail.

In May 2023, the Summit County Council unanimously approved the Rail Trail Corridor Plan, a comprehensive initiative aimed at pinpointing areas for enhancement, ensuring environmental preservation, fostering economic growth, and enhancing the Rail Trail’s community appeal.

Find further details about the Rail Trail Corridor Project here.

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