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Trail advocates tout it as a boon to homeowners

SHARE Trail advocates tout it as a boon to homeowners

Promoting the Bonneville Shoreline Trail as an amenity rather than a liability to neighborhoods is one of the main goals of the trail committee.

Realizing that the relationship between recreationists and homeowners near trail access points is vital to the project's survival, Rick Reese is trying to show that having a trail nearby will actually decrease neighborhood crime.He has several proposals to get the word out:

- Establishing a neighborhood trail watch composed of trail users and property owners. Putting "hundreds of eyes and ears" on the trail to monitor and report suspicious behavior will decrease worry, he said.

- Designating homes that are willing to provide hikers with assistance by providing McGruff House-type signs to be placed in the windows. Hikers would be asked to leave the nondesignated homes alone. This would alleviate fears of homeowners that hikers will constantly be bothering them for drinks of water or to use the bathroom or telephone.

- Establishing an adopt-a-trail program that would organize volunteers to provide trail maintenance.

Jim Byrne, co-chairman of the trail committee, said these proposals are still in their infancy. In the meantime, he said they are doing all they can to show the trail to be a positive addition to the community.

Salt Lake businessman Gary Evershed lives near one of the main trail access points at the top of Terrace Hills Drive and said he enjoys having the hikers there.

Evershed said trail users have always been willing to take his two dalmatians, Cleopatra and Anne, on walks when he can't go. Plus, there's always someone around to hike with, he said. He hasn't seen any trouble in the community as a result of hikers because criminals are typically too lazy to use the trail, he said.

Rick Steiner, a frequent trail user, agreed that the kind of people who ride and hike aren't abusers of personal rights.

"I ride by and I could care less about what's going on in someone's home," Steiner said.

He said nondesignated and secluded trails see more troublemaking.

But both Evershed and Steiner agree that the issue of parking in residential neighborhoods must be addressed at some point.

On the trail's busy days, cars line the Terrace Hills cul-de-sac and extend a half a block down the street, Evershed said.

Steiner said perhaps a shuttle system could be worked out to get trail users up the hill.