Trail rerouted for museum construction

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a popular Wasatch Mountain Range hiking path that extends south from the Idaho border to Nephi, will be rerouted for the duration of construction on the new Utah Museum of Natural History beginning in August.
The museum, which is deciding where local residents will be able to access the trail, has decided to temporarily turn a one-lane road into an alternate trail. The path will lead hikers around the construction site between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. During evenings and weekends, the fences will be removed and the trail will reopen. Construction is projected to last two and a half years.
Some locals residents have expressed concern that re-routing the trail will have a greater impact on trail-users than just inconvenience.
“The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a popular path for locals young to old, bikers, hikers and people just walking their dog,” said Lisa Schmidt, executive director of local environmental organization Save Our Canyons. “Rerouting is an attempt to meet the needs of the public, but it greatly decreases the quality of the experience.”
The U has taken a number of steps to ensure that its actions are in the interest of trail users. “Community input has been a guiding factor in our planning decisions,” said project manager Jennifer Still of Campus Design and Construction. After conducting an Environmental Impact Study, museum representatives invited Salt Lake residents to comment on the museum’s proposed location and construction plans.
“We have listened really hard to the community and the dialogue has helped shape the planning and design of the new museum,” said Sarah George, executive director of UMNH. George has also worked closely with the Bonneville Shoreline Association, an organization that has overseen the treatment of the trail between North Ogden and southern Provo, for a number of years. “We are consulting with the committee to develop the trail’s temporary route.”
During construction, developers will improve the trail by fighting erosion and adding shaded rest areas. However, the trail will be kept clear after the museum’s completion, and exhibits will be placed in a different area of the foothills, said George.
“The trail association asked us to bend the current trail, make it more interesting and put a better surface on it,” she said. “During the winter, parts of it turn into a mudhole.”
Besides being newly surfaced, the completed trail will run between the new building and the proposed parking lot. A new road will also connect the trail with the Williams Parking building.
When the museum opens sometime in the winter between 2010 and 2011, it will incorporate themes related to the trail.
First, the museum will feature trails that follow themes such as sustainability through the museum to create unique touring experiences.
Second, planners hope that the museum will become an appealing trailhead for the Bonneville Shoreline and Emigration Trails.
And third, “the museum will act as a trailhead out to the state,” said George.
Exhibits within the museum will highlight their connection to Utah and provide information on how visitors can experience these landmarks as well.
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