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To the editor:

Nineteen years ago my family purchased a home adjacent to the upper canal in Hyde Park. One of the benefits of this property was immediate access to the trail that provided a flat, pristine, walk, run or bike ride for miles that extended from Smithfield to North Logan. The views were beautiful and the canal provided a water source that enhanced the stunning experience. It was a great place for families to walk (push baby strollers) and spend quality time outdoors close to home.

Sadly, development, selfishness and lack of planning have consistently deteriorated the experience along the upper canal trail over ensuing years. Power struggles between canal easements, landowners and public access have led to closures of large segments of the trail. Initially, signs were posted indicating the canal was “Private Property,” for “Authorized Personnel Only,” and “No Motor Vehicles.” Most users winked at these initial signs assuming if they were not a “motorized vehicle” they could retain access. Unfortunately, we were mistaken as the signs were followed by large gates that first went up from Hyde Park to Smithfield eliminating that access, and now more recently followed by large gates from Hyde Park to North Logan eliminating that access.

The landowners (farmers/developers/homeowners) and canal company cite liability issues for the closures. Many of us living along the canal participated in meetings for trail system development a couple years ago that used the upper canal as a primary connector for multiple trails across the northern end of the valley. Since that time all we have seen is further deterioration of trail access. I agree with the writer of Wednesday’s letter. Cities and the public must get involved. The northern end of the valley is on the verge of losing a diamond that, once gone, will never be replaced. With rapid valley growth it is important we retain a trails system that allows all to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful valley for generations come.

Open access to the upper canal trail is a critical part of retaining and enhancing the property values and living experience for everyone on the north side of the valley.

Larry Hill

Hyde Park