June-July 2022 Foothills Trail System Update
Current Foothills Trails Analysis

Public Lands has been conducting analysis of the Phase I of the Foothills Plan and its goals for evaluation before proceeding to Phase II. The analysis has produced lots of information on how to carry out the goals of the plan by balancing land conservation with sustainable recreation.

When carrying out this analysis, Public Lands met with both Save Our Foothills and SLC Trails Alliance many times to learn about their goals and concerns. The insights gathered from these groups will help Public Lands make more informed decisions.

Additionally, SWCA Environmental Consultants were hired in December 2021 to gather ecological and culture analytics of trail corridors and designated "habitat study areas" within the Foothills. SWCA has also been communicating with local agencies to put together an inventory of factors to be considered. SWCA will present their findings and recommendations later this year.
Trails Plan Evaluation

After an initial request for proposal for a trails plan evaluation this winter was cancelled due to insufficient responses, a more detailed request for proposal was put out in the spring.

Public Lands has selected a firm with extensive planning and trail design experience in wilderness and conservation for the trails plan evaluation. The name of the firm will be announced once contracts are finalized.

The selected firm's consultation will run from summer 2022 through summer 2023, with the possibility of Phase II being implemented as early as fall 2023 or 2024.
Etiquette and Education

While design and construction lay the foundation to a successful trail system, equally as important are the behaviors and trail culture of its users.

With the abundance of new users recreating in the Foothills, combined with the historical lack of oversight of regulations by its land managers, it is more critical than ever to work together to determine agreed-upon trail use guidelines and develop the best ways to educate the public on best practices when it comes to complex issues such as dogs, e-bikes, and land sustainability.

There are successful models from around the country where these “education and etiquette” campaigns have brought together conflicting organizations to find common goals and a more collaborative co-existence. It is the hope of SLC Public Lands that we can partner with groups like Save Our Foothills, SLC Trails Alliance, Save Our Canyons, and the exploding number of mountain biking teams, riders, and hikers to come together to find a reasonable solution that will protect our foothills and keep our trail users safe and happy. 
As promised in last September's announcement about the Foothills Trail System Plan, this is a monthly email update about the construction pause and consultant review of some aspects of the plan.