County OHV trail officially opens
It's official, a trails system which virtually connects Carbon County from border to border is open and ready to ride.
Officials from the Castle Country Trails Committee, Carbon County, the Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Department of Transportation came together Saturday to conduct a "soft opening" for the trail which is more than 10 years in the making.
According to those involved with the trails system, an undertaking of this size has required the help of city, county, state and federal organizations including the BLM, the School Institutional Trust Lands Administration and Planning and Zoning officials from the county.
The trail is being called the Castle Country Trails System, and the August 9 ceremony took place at the trail head, located on the north side of the fairground's motocross track.
The 250 mile system will have a grand opening next spring, once the entire system has been signed and posted for the general public, said Carbon County Office of Tourism Director Shalee Johansen.
According to Johansen, an official trail system is the number one activity asked about when the office of tourism attends trade shows and events. And while the Castle Country has always had a large number of OHV trails, there was never an officially marked system.
"People are looking for a marked trail," said Johansen. "And the best part about our trail system is the fact that it includes attractions and destinations which can't be found anywhere else in the world."
For the county's tourism director, the area's rich history, paleontology and archeology, as well as the trail's stunning landscapes make this system one of a kind.
A closer look at the trail shows that it connects the west side of Carbon County with the east. The only thing keeping the trail from becoming a complete loop is a 3-mile section of trail between Broads Canyon and the town of Scofield along highway 96.
Castle Country Trails Committee Chairperson Jordan Behunin explained that private property along the area, coupled with state laws that do not allow OHVs to travel on any highway, have the committee between a rock and a hard place.
The access that the trail does provide gives locals and tourists alike access to many of the best parts of Carbon County.
According to Behunin, the eastern loop of the trail could begin in East Carbon, take a rider to the top of Bruin Point and into Nine Mile Canyon for a look at the Great Hunt rock art panel, all before lunch. Riders can then drop down through Dry Canyon and Cold Springs on their way back to East Carbon.
"Along that ride people can also look at the ore buckets from old mines," said Behunin. "I don't know anywhere else those are still around and Sunnyside's coke ovens can also be seen from the trail."
On the western loop, which begins at the trail head at the Carbon County Fairgrounds, riders can take the trail to the train trestle near the old Wildcat load out. The trail then moves up Corner Canyon and down into the newly constructed system near Helper, through Kenilworth and back into Price.
While these areas are known to local, the advantage of a marked system is nearly impossible to quantify for someone in Johansen's position.
"This system is already becoming a major draw," said Johansen. "Because the rock art and wildlife can be accessed right from the panel. This trail system allows the entire family to take advantage of what our area has to offer."
To publicize the system as well as Carbon County's other attractions, Johansen's office has worked on putting together five separate 2 minute videos which showcase the area in living color. The videos will soon be available on the office of tourism's website as well as other locations in Carbon County.
For the residents of Carbon County, it is Behunin's hope that maps of the trail which are already available, and the signage which is now being worked on, will encourage more riders to explore all the trails this system has to offer.
For all involved with the trail, the goal seems to be opening up the whole of Carbon County to those who have been here for 10 years and those who are coming to stay for 10 days.