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Little-known agency helps map and build trails Aug 23rd, 2009 7:34:19 pm - Subscribe
Mood | sorrowful

Brian Head ┬╗Already a destination for serious mountain bikers, the town of Brian Head is upgrading its system of hiking, biking, horse and motorized trails with the help of a little known federal program.

The Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCAP) is helping this mountain town in Iron County identify, map and mark its trail system as part of a trails master plan.

The Brian Head project is one of five around Utah that is supported by the RTCAP, the community outreach arm of the National Park Service.

Marcy DeMillion, who heads the office in Salt Lake City, said the Brian Head project will eventually connect existing trails with those already on the Dixie National Forest and nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Her office is supplying in-kind services equivalent to about $15,000 for the project, which will also identify where to put trailheads, informational kiosks and signs. A logo to identify the trails will also be developed.

The trails can also be used in winter for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling on motorized sections.

DeMillion said the Brian Head project and four others were chosen from a pool of 12 for work this year.

RTCAP chooses projects based on such criteria as whether they will engage young people and be supported by ongoing partnerships with government agencies, including those that promote the health benefits of using the trails.

"Communities bring energy and enthusiasm to their projects," said DeMillion.

Brian Head town manager Bryce Haderlie said RTCAP's help will save the town a lot of money on a new system that will benefit residents and visitors both.

"We hope this improves the information ... and increases the number who want to use the system," said Haderlie.

He said existing trails aren't well coordinated, but when the project is completed, probably in 2011, users will find a seamless system identified by logos and signs.

In Moab, officials are excited to see the city's Lions Park project going forward.

Kimberly Schappert, executive director of the Moab Trails Alliance, said it will become the focal point for the community.

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