New sections of the popular Bonneville Shoreline Trail would be built in Salt Lake and Utah counties under legislation the U.S. House passed Monday.

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act, sponsored by Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, proposes to extend the trail, which will ultimately stretch to 280 miles when it’s complete. Now 100 miles long, the path will eventually run from the Idaho border to Nephi.

“Unfortunately, the vision is limited in some areas and my bill would fix this problem and support its completion,” Curtis said in a speech on the House floor.

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a mixed-use recreation trail that roughly follows the shoreline of the ancient Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric pluvial lake. Popular among runners, hikers and bikers, it runs along the foothills on the west slopes of the Wasatch mountains and the east slopes of the Oquirrh mountains through Cache, Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties.

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The bill, Curtis said, would release small parcels of wilderness, often in places where the trial has already been constructed. In turn, “more deserving” lands would be designated for protection, he said.

“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 Rep. Curtis. “As someone who loves walking and biking this trail, I am excited to bring greater access to more Utahns.”

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Specifically, the bill:

  • Releases 326 acres of wilderness divided over more than 20 small locations, to accommodate the advancement of the trail in Salt Lake and Utah counties.
  • Resolves a wilderness boundary issue in Birch Canyon to ensure the trail that runs parallel to the road can be fully utilized as a multi-use trail.
  • Designates 326 acres of wilderness to preserve land formerly owned by the Boy Scouts of America in Mill Creek Canyon to offset wilderness releases to accommodate the trail.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, with support from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, will now carry the legislation in the Senate.

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