Salt Lake City is about to start earnest work on a new trail system in the Foothills about Salt Lake City’s Avenues area. The following is a letter I wrote to my local Council Person, Ana Valdemoros, asking for her support (amongst other things) for the new trail system.
Hello Council Member Valdemoros!
My name is Jared Ferguson, I am a constituent of yours and an attendee of the 2/18 Council meeting, Though I did not express my thoughts publicly, I am doing so privately.
I am social worker and an avid user of the existing trails. As a person who serves some of our city’s most vulnerable adults, I find the ability to get away important and do so as a mountain biker, trail runner, and hiker. Hiking the SLC foothills can sometimes feel like I’m a long way from home, even though I’m not. That said, few things will rip me back to reality and remind me that I’m close to civilization faster than animal waste and animal waste bags.
Last spring, my then 13 year-old son and I did a lot of hiking together. Picking up “poop bags” started as kind of a joke and eventually, became our duty. During a Saturday hike on Mt. Wire, I picked up – and I am not exaggerating – 18 waste bags during the last 1/2 mile of our hike! Such a joke it was that my son and I now call ourselves “the poop fairies.”
In truth, I don’t like to be the poop fairy. In truth, I just want to enjoy the trails without such detriments to the outdoor experiences of myself and others. I believe that most people mean to pick up their waste bags, but forget while some simply don’t care or understand the issues that animal waste cause.
During the meeting the other night, two home owners from Emigration Township had mentioned they they have to monitor their wells for fecal matter daily. I was disgusted and shocked to hear that. While I plan on writing further to other public official about the issue, I think that such an fact makes a clear cut case for that area being put under watershed protection. While Emigration Creek dried up two years ago during the summer (and thus couldn’t be contaminated at the time), the contaminated well-water is simply unacceptable. I can only imagine the fecal matter levels in lower City Creek itself.
It is with all this in mind that I am writing to ask for your support in modifying the trails master plan to limit animals to portions of the trail far away from any water recharging areas or feeder streams.
Thank you for your consideration and I do hope to hear back from you.
If you’re interested in learning more about the new Foothill Trails System Proposal, you can read about the plans and see the proposed trails here. If, as a resident of Salt Lake City, you’re so inclined, I’d encourage you to contact your local Council Person and voice support for the proposal.