New Draper trail conditions app improves outdoor experience
Jul 18, 2019 03:21PM
By Stephanie Yrungaray
Cellphone with trail app and trail in background, horizontal.
By Stephanie Yrungaray | [email protected]
Residents and visitors hoping to enjoy Draper’s 90+ miles of trails now have a way to check trail conditions before they head out the door. Draper City recently released a trail conditions app with the goal of keeping hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders informed as well as keeping trails in good condition.
“Our hope is that the app will make it easier for residents to engage with our beautiful outdoors,” said Draper City Councilmember Tasha Lowery. “We have the most preserved and protected wild lands of any city in the state, over 5,000 acres. It really makes a difference to our residents and their ability to get outside and appreciate all Utah has to offer.”
The app, which can be found online at Draper City’s map portal at https://draper.maps.arcgis.com/ shows all of the city’s trails with each trail colored according to its current condition. Green for open, yellow for tread lightly, red for closed and blue to indicate which trails are groomed during snowy weather. Clicking on the colored lines pulls up the name of the trail, its condition and the last date of inspection.
Greg Hilbig, Draper’s trails and open space manager, said either himself, his assistant, or a park ranger are responsible for making sure the app conditions are accurate. “We are often out on the trails checking them,” Hilbig said. “Depending on the time of year and the recent weather it is pretty obvious to those of us familiar with the trails what their condition will be.”
Hilbig said the app is an important tool for keeping trails healthy. “A lot of our soil is clay, which holds the water longer. The problem with using (trails) when they get really wet and muddy is that it displaces soil off of the trail. On a muddy trail, hikers and horses cause potholes and bikers cause ruts. When the mud hardens it makes the trail lumpy and causes erosion.”
Draper resident Chad Smith said his family uses the community trails for mountain biking, running and family hikes. He thinks the new app will make a real difference to trail users.
“As Draper’s trail system becomes increasingly crowded and complex to accommodate those on foot, bike and horse, I see this app as a way to get in front of some problems that have been on the rise for awhile now,” Smith said.
Smith said the number of mountain bikers can make it difficult for hikers, walkers and runners to use the trails, but recent improvements made by Draper City are helping.
“They’ve added more foot traffic–only trails, and they’ve minimized areas where foot traffic and bike trails intersect and overlap,” Smith said. “At this point, with so many recent changes and such a need for crowd management, I think education is the biggest issue remaining.”
Hilbig said he hopes word will spread about the trail conditions app. “The last time I checked we had 5000 visits to (the app). We are hoping to spread education because a lot of new users won’t understand why they shouldn’t be on muddy trails.”
Overall, Hilbig said he hopes the app will improve everyone’s experience on trails in Draper.
“People from all over use these trails,” Hilbig said. “We just want everyone to have a good time and be courteous to other users.”