By Shannon Nutley — 15 years ago when I began hiking and biking the Ogden trail system, I had no idea that someone built the trail I was on. I had no clue that countless hours of volunteer work went into maintaining the trails that I knew and loved. As time went by, I learned. I got a job at a bike shop and found that there were so many volunteer groups that went out almost daily to build and maintain the trails. One of the biggest benefactors to the Ogden trail system is Ogden Trails Network. The Ogden Trail Network was formed over 22 years ago through a resolution by the City of Ogden with the vision to ‘Develop a world class trail experience for the betterment of Ogden’. Run entirely by citizen volunteers, they put in countless hours improving and repairing the trails, applying for grants, scheduling volunteer maintenance, working with property owners to address maintenance and public access and developing public education about the trails in the area.
The committee is made up of citizen volunteers that are nominated by the mayor and approved by the city council, along with volunteers from the US Forest Service, Weber Pathways, Ogden Front climbing club and Weber State University. As a City Advisory Committee they partner with city employees from the Planning and Public Ways and Parks, and members of WOBAC (Weber-Ogden Bicycle Advisory Committee).
This year they have already begun adding totems and signage along the Ogden hillside trails, beginning with Gibbs Loop. The OTN expects to add 250-300 new signposts throughout the trail system. Signage is designed to be consistent throughout the Ogden area. Funds for this project were acquired by the group through an approximately $50,000 grant from the Weber County Recreation, Arts, Museum and Parks fund, or RAMP. They are also working on helping GPS software companies to map the trails in and around Ogden.
Another project in the works is an interpretive trail in conjunction with Weber State Universities College of Science. This trail will be located by the University and feature way points with signs indicating specific features of Utah’s unique ecosystem and geology. The trails will be used not only for Weber State courses, but also to educate other programs and schools.
They also have an ‘Adopt a Trail’ program. There are 29 segments. Volunteer as an individual or sign your group up for a segment. They will supply the tools and training to maintain the section that your group sponsors. Each year, volunteers donate 2000-2500 hours of trailwork.
If you are interested in following the progress of Ogden Trails Network, or wish to volunteer, you can find them at ogdencity.com/en/recreation/high_adventure_rec/ogden_trails.aspx or facebook.com/OgdenTrailsNetwork, or on Twitter, @ogdentrails.