Lifeline, Shoreline Film Advocates Completing Utah’s Bonneville Shoreline Trail

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Short Film Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Trail Bill Becoming Law 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (December 7, 2023) — The International Mountain Bicycling Association and Trust for Public Land just released Lifeline, Shoreline. The short film celebrates progress behind Bonneville Shoreline Trail development and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act becoming law in 2022, while focusing on the opportunities now ahead to connect and complete the full 280-mile multi-use trail that reaches 75% of Utah residents. 

The film can be viewed below:

“This film reminds us of the vital importance trails hold for every community: health and wellness for body, mind and spirit, connecting with nature, and connecting with each other,” said David Wiens, Executive Director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). “This law to bring both long-distance trail opportunities and more trails close to home is the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration by our Government Affairs team alongside federal representatives and local leaders. Thank you to the many, many advocates who have worked to further the vision of Utah’s Bonneville Shoreline Trail.”  

Currently, nearly 100 miles of the 280-mile Bonneville Shoreline Trail are complete. However, small sections of the trail were not accessible. Fulfilling the vision of a continuous multi-use trail required minor adjustments to Wilderness boundaries that abut population-dense areas, because mountain biking is not permitted in Congressionally designated Wilderness. Full trail connectivity also requires pursuing land access and strategic land acquisition projects with willing private landowners.

Riders descend the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Morris Meadows, Salt Lake City. Photo by Dave Iltis

Trust for Public Land has worked with local Utah communities and trails organizations  since 2000 to acquire key parcels of land to fill in gaps in the proposed Bonneville Shoreline Trail corridor. To date, Trust for Public Land has acquired and transferred 25 parcels of land along the trail corridor into public ownership, representing 2,000 acres of new public land.

IMBA’s Government Affairs team led the effort to pursue and prepare legislation that improves connectivity for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, working closely with Representative John Curtis (R-UT), Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee, Trails Utah, Trust for Public Land, and many local government officials to advocate for the bill. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act was introduced in July 2020 and passed into law in December 2022. 

To allow multi-use access to key sections of the trail, the legislation included a 1-for-1 swap of 326 acres of Wilderness across 20 locations in the trail corridor with 326 acres of new, contiguous Wilderness in nearby Mill Creek Canyon. IMBA worked to pass similar legislation in 2014, which restored and protected mountain bike trail connectivity while supporting New Mexico’s Columbine-Hondo Wilderness. When proposed Wilderness could impact mountain biking, IMBA advocates for boundary adjustments, trail corridors and alternative land designations that protect wildlife and wild places while preserving bicycle access. 

“The bill’s passage is tremendous for outdoor recreation advocates. It continues a precedent for communities to use the legislative process for land and trail access,” said Todd Keller, IMBA Director of Government Affairs. “These accomplishments are a fantastic example of elected officials, government staff, business leaders, local citizens, and non-profit organizations working together to achieve a shared goal.”

With the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act now law, communities across the Salt Lake Valley can focus on connecting the full Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Lifeline, Shoreline highlights the importance of community trails and what completing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail will mean for Utahns. The film features Utah Senator Mitt Romney and Utah Representative John Curtis, alongside local leaders from Trails Utah, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee, the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, City of Draper Trails and Open Space, and the Utah High School Cycling League. IMBA thanks Salt Lake City’s Camp4 Collective Creative Studio for producing the film — a partnership that began with a chance encounter on a trail.  

IMBA has been involved in the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for more than two decades, working with local stakeholders in the planning and development of the trail. Trust for Public Land focuses on working with private landowners and local, state and federal agencies to strategically acquire priority lands to fill in gaps in the proposed trail corridor. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee is a group of representatives from communities actively implementing and managing segments of the trail. Trails Utah is dedicated to trail advocacy, planning, funding and building in needed areas throughout Utah.

“Trust for Public Land believes great trails make for great communities,” said Jim Petterson, Trust for Public Land Mountain West Region Vice President. “And, we know great trails don’t just happen. Creating trails takes persistence, perseverance and a lot of hard work. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail represents a bold vision for connecting people to the outdoors, and we are committed to continuing work with our local partners to acquire the lands needed to complete the trail.”

Find more information and maps on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act at imba.com/bst. For more history on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, enjoy a three-part series highlighting the vision and trail champions advocating for the trail, decades of trail planning that brought neighboring communities together, and the relationship building behind the bill’s introduction and eventual passage. 

“The Bonneville Shoreline Trail provides great outdoor recreational opportunities for Utahns. I’m proud our legislation has made it across the finish line so the trail can finally be completed. Generation after generation will be able to enjoy the beauty of Utah’s surrounding landscape, while being more connected with the land and more connected with one another,” said Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT). 

With the rapid growth in and around Salt Lake City, it is more important than ever to support new recreation opportunities such as the Bonneville Shoreline Trail,” said Representative John Curtis (R-UT). “As someone who loves walking and biking this trail, I am excited to bring more awareness and greater access to Utahns.”

“Trails Utah is incredibly grateful for the many partners who came together around the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, to help secure its future and celebrate its vital role in our lives and the life of our communities. Trail-based recreation is essential to our way of life in Utah. It is one of our most meaningful and profound ways of connecting to nature and receiving the amazing variety of benefits found outdoors. The legislation that enshrines the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is just a start, we now must do the important work at the local level of finding ways to connect the trail and connect us, thoughtfully and sustainably, to our treasured landscapes and open spaces,” said Sarah Bennett, Executive Director of Trails Utah. “Enormous thanks to our friends at IMBA and Camp 4 Collective for so beautifully capturing the life and beauty of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail!”

“On the trail is a moment of thinking back on your journey in your life … Because everything out here goes back into nature … That’s that spirit of hope. That’s what brings life to the trail. And that’s why so many people want to be on the trail,” said Rios Pacheco, Tribal Elder, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation.  

“It takes a lot of teamwork to get things done in this world, and that applies to getting trails built, getting legislation passed, and getting a film made,” said John Knoblock, Chair of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee. “I’d like to thank the various cities and counties along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail corridor, the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation,  the U.S. Forest Service, Trust for Public Land, Trails Utah, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee, and the other local trail organizations that have helped get sections of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail built. Aaron Clark with IMBA has been a great partner supporting the Bonneville Shoreline Trail by working with Senator Romney and Representative Curtis to get the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act passed through Congress. To top it off, thanks to IMBA for putting this film together to document the achievement!” 

Find the film and more information at imba.com/bst.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I have nothing against these trails, in fact I highly support them. But I do have a problem with the amount of parking seemingly necessary to provide access to them. We can. No, we MUST, provide access to these trails by making investments in mass transit and active transportation mobility throughout the valley so that every person, regardless of ability or age, can gain access to the amenities of their choice without the need to drive and park a car or SUV.

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