With the ribbon-cutting of a section of trail along the river Wednesday morning, Logan added an important piece in connecting the city's trails to each other and to parks.

The length of new trail connects the Logan River Trail to the Trapper Park Trail by weaving along the river and crossing it with a wide pedestrian bridge along 800 West.

Logan Mayor Holly Daines said trails and recreation were strong interests of hers when she first joined the Municipal Council 8½ years ago. She and other councilmembers set aside $1.2 million in a trail fund to help connect trails and parks.

"In our valley, that's one of the things we have as assets, is beautiful landscapes, and we need to enjoy it," Daines said.

Logan Parks & Recreation Director Russ Akina said the connection symbolizes the culmination of 20 years of work building and connecting trails.

"It's significant to us that it allows for the public to get to places like parks by way of public trails," Akina said.

The bridge was built with $50,000 in funding from the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant program. Cache County's Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos program provided about $80,000 for other trail construction costs, Akina said.

Building trails is often difficult, because cities need to secure property and rights of way.

"It's usually a lot of work. More than just laying down a string of concrete and saying here's where we go," Akina said. "But, you know, we lived for this day."

That sort of negotiation with property owners made getting a trail from Rendezvous Park to Trapper Park difficult, but the city was able to work with the Logan River Restoration Project to build the connection.

"It just so happened that at the time we were looking for another alternative, the river restoration project was gearing up," Akina said. "And so we thought that, well, maybe this was a good opportunity to combine the two together for that project, and that's what became this."

Logan Parks Superintendent Ed Stephens said it's good to see that section of the trail system completed.

"We've been building this section for about 2 years," Stephens said. "And we're always encountering public while we're down here working, asking when it's gonna be done, when's it gonna be done."

It was difficult to make progress on the trail last year, Stephens said, because high runoff and flooding meant they weren't able to start work until mid-July.

Roy and Joan Jones were taking their routine walk along the River Trail on Wednesday when they saw the ribbon-cutting, hosted by the city and the Cache Chamber of Commerce, and joined in to talk with city officials about the project and partake of free ice cream.

"This is going to be so fun for us," Joan said.

The Joneses, who moved to Cache Valley from Las Vegas a few years ago, said they thought the area would look beautiful, but they do miss the trees removed for the river restoration project.

Roy explained their reaction: "When we walk along, especially in the shady portions with the big trees and the water running past, and we say, 'They couldn't put this thing in in Vegas for millions of dollars.' It's a little different down there. All parched and dry."

staff writer

Steve Kent is city editor for The Herald Journal.