Representatives of the Carbon County Trails Committee and the Castle Country OHV Association, including Price City Council member Terry Willis, visited the Carbon County Commissioners on Wednesday evening during their scheduled meeting with a request.
This request was for a letter of interest regarding the Gordon Creek area. Willis informed the commissioners that during the trails committee meeting hosted last week, it was brought to their attention that the Utah Railway is getting ready to vacate some of the rail line in the Gordon Creek area. Willis continued by stating that they have had interest in developing the area into a multi-use camping and trail system.
The trail will be friendly for mountain bikes, ATVs and equestrian riders. The wish is to welcome a wide range of user groups. In discovering the railway is getting close to making the decision to vacate, the committee would like to have the opportunity to utilize it as a trail system to connect from Scofield to Huntington State Park.
Willis stated that the Emery County Commissioners have had some interest in doing this and acknowledged that there are some concerns about maintenance and cost. She stated that those are some issues that could be handled one at a time down the road.
She then stated that they are simply asking the commissioners to write to the Utah Railway with a letter of interest in acquiring to ensure that the opportunity is not lost if it comes. According to Willis, the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation stated that there is a lot of opportunity to find funding so that it would not fall on the county itself.
Willis then said that she believes that it would bring a lot of tourism dollars from those wishing to ride from state park to state park and that small sections would be developed depending on grants through the outdoor recreation program.
“But if we lose it, we lose it,” Willis stated.
The commissioners stressed that they would not be able to take on liability over the railroad grade and its maintenance. There was worry that it would eventually fall back onto the county.
Carbon County Economic Development Specialist Rita Vigor then stepped in, stating that she is in support of the idea and with the commissioners’ permission, she and Carbon County Tourism Specialist Tina Henrie could take the initiative to conduct research on the subject to put the request in to Utah Railway for the committee. She stated the duo would then return and present their findings.
Vigor received blessing from the commissioners to begin research and the committee was given permission to continue with the understanding that the project would not become a burden on the county.