IRON COUNTY — A representative from the Bureau of Land Management brought forward a proposal to the Iron County Commission Monday to erect multiple signs along the Old Spanish Trail and to begin the discussion of ideas to better promote the trail’s use.
Robert Sweeten, administrator over the Old Spanish Trail, presented the proposal to mark a section of the trail called the Recreation Route with signs that would allow the use of off-highway vehicles along the trail. The 84-mile route begins just outside of Kingston where it then crosses into Iron County and continues on until Newcastle.
“We have an opportunity here to take this particular trail from obscurity — just a line on a map — into something that is productive and useful to our citizens,” Sweeten said.
Although the Recreation Route is not the exact path traveled by pioneers and traders, Sweeten said, it follows that path as closely as possible. OHVs are currently able to travel the entire route and passenger cars can access most of the trail but may be required to take an alternate route in the Three Peaks portion.
As part of his presentation, Sweeten handed out booklets to the commissioners and those in attendance that included a map of the trail’s route and summarized some proposed ideas of how the trail could be used in the future. These ideas came about during a think tank in July along with an open house forum on Aug. 19.
“We have not planned to do anything yet,” Sweeten said. “What we do have (are) … some concepts and ideas of ways to bring the trail to life.”
One of the proposed ideas is to create a section of “hubs” along the trail, Sweeten said. These hubs are significant points along the trail where people could interact with the surrounding areas or learn more about that portion’s history.
Hubs could feature trailheads to other hiking areas; campgrounds for families to stay in; and interpretive structures and kiosks that would provide education and historical information about that specific area.
“A lot of this area’s history is just not known,” Sweeten said. “You need to get the right people with (information) and then it becomes very interesting to our youth.”
Because different parts of the trail cross through areas where there are multiple landowners, it would take a partnership effort between the owners to implement some of the proposed concepts, Sweeten said.
Iron County has been putting forth a considerable effort in 2014 towards trails, Commissioner Dave Miller said. This proposal goes along what the county has been trying to accomplish.
“This fits in, timing wise, really well with what we’ve been trying to do,” Miller said.
This is just the beginning step at the start of a long process, Sweeten said. The next step is to get approval from Parowan City, Enoch City and the state to allow similar signs to be erected on the trail portions located on their respective properties.
The Iron County commissioners all moved to approve the raising of signs in the Iron County portion of the route. The commission did not yet make a decision how much money will be set aside for the signs or where the actual signs will be made, but will continue the discussion with the BLM on making these arrangements.
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