New U.S. 89 trail could become
part of a broader trail system
By Robert Stevens
GUNNISON—The Gunnison Valley community will be getting some new additions to the local trails system, thanks to a UDOT grant.
An asphalt biking and walking trail is going to go in from the junction of S.R. 28 and U.S. 89 to Cemetery Road. The path will be 3,300 feet long and 10 feet wide.
According to Gunnison City Mayor Lori Nay, UDOT is pitching in $138,000 to pay for the cost of materials on the new trail while Gunnison City will actually built the trail.
One reason for the trail is to provide a walking and biking path workers at ACT, Freedom Innovations and the Central Utah Correctional Facility can use to walk or bike to work.
“The idea would be to connect citizens with their workplace,” Nay says.
Nay says as the trail is developed, bikers and walkers could follow the trail north on Cemetery Road and connect with Antelope Road, a gravel road that branches northeast off Cemetery Road and continues up the west side of Gunnison Reservoir. The path could eventually link into the bike trail system the Manti Trail Builder’s Association is developing on the west side of the reservoir.
More plans to develop the trails in Gunnison Valley are taking shape as the Trails Committee creates a plan for the G-Hill that will define both motorized and non-motorized trails.
“We are trying to make this happen with grant funding and in-kind labor from the community,” says Gunnison City Councilman Justin Mellor, who is the council member in charge of trails for the city. “The residents shouldn’t have to pay for that, but we are still going to make it happen. I look at that G-Hill, and I see a local treasure.
“The River Walk is a local treasure too, and people love to use it, but we need more than that. Plus there are so many memories associated with…the G-Hill, so much historical value, not to mention the flora and fauna to enjoy. It’s a small paradise up there.”
The city is looking for grant funding to purchase 20 acres of the G-Hill land, and lease another portion. The land is presently owned by the Utah School Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA).
If the land is secured, there is potential for a trail to be developed from the G-Hill, across the west side of town, and connect to the new asphalt walking/biking path that will run along U.S. 89.
If all that happened, someone could walk or ride a bike from the G-Hill all the way to the Gunnison Reservoir.
Mellor says bringing more options to the community to have physical exercise and fun outdoors would be a boon.
“I think we all have way too much screen time nowadays,” he said. “It gives people and kids a place to go. If you look at other communities that have these, you see they get used constantly. I think we could have some really positive results by having something beautiful where people can do something physical.”
Mellor says, if it’s done right, the trail system would also attract visitors to the area as well, which would benefit the economy.
“If you build it, they will come,” he says.
A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for May 6, but could be delayed due to COVID-19 guidelines against gatherings.