Public input sought on improvements to upper Mill Creek CanyonDec 06, 2021 03:12PM ● By Bridget Raymundo
Sunset captured at Millcreek Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Tom Scott)
By Bridget Raymundo | [email protected]
Nearly $20 million in funds for improvements to the Upper Mill Creek Canyon is being allocated for better access and transportation. A media release by Salt Lake County Regional Development, USDA Forest Service, and Millcreek City on Nov. 3 disclosed updates on the project. The hope is for the public to be involved in the process of deciding what specific changes should be made to make the canyon even better. In order to incorporate suggestions, public input will be considered by project partners if submitted online between Nov. 9-Dec. 9 to www.slco.org/planning-transportation/millcreek-road-improvements/.
“We’re thrilled we’ve been able to obtain this huge investment for Mill Creek Canyon; it’s treasured by people all across Salt Lake County, and I urge residents to provide feedback on the thoughtful improvements proposed by our staff and partners,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said.
The Upper Mill Creek Canyon project has raked in a total of $15.3 million which was required to be matched locally with $4.2 million, through the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP). FLAP aims to improve transportation facilities starting with making areas around or within federal lands more accessible. The Salt Lake Valley is largely managed in the eastern part by the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The 4.5 miles of Mill Creek Canyon Road between Big Water trailhead and the winter gate is included to have construction done in the following span of the project.
On Nov. 9, representatives of the Federal Highways Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division, the USDA Forest Service, and local project team members answered questions from the public about the project at Millcreek Canyon. The open house also collected additional recommendations from the attendees for further evaluation.
“The Federal Highway Administration, Central Federal Lands Highway Division has years of expertise designing and constructing similar roadways to provide access to public lands in scenic and challenging terrain,” Bekee Hotze, district ranger for the Salt Lake Ranger District, said. “They will assist the project partners in improving access and safety in the canyon, while preserving its natural and historical characteristics, so that the public may continue to experience and enjoy National Forest system lands in Mill Creek Canyon.”
The goal of the additions is to create a safer way to access roadway, crosswalks and parking areas. In the future, visitors will experience a better outline of signs and more directional information along the way. Furthermore, select planned improvements will not be a part of FLAP funding such as the picnic area parking and trailheads.
“Mill Creek Canyon is our ‘backyard’ here in the City of Millcreek. We are excited to partner with Salt Lake County and the US Forest Service to provide much needed transportation improvements while maintaining the character of this beautiful recreational gem,” Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini said. “With our population booming, it is imperative that we address access and safety in the canyon. We are happy that we have the opportunity that this FLAP grant will provide to improve this special place.”
Outdoor recreation is essential to tourism in Utah and attracts many people from within and outside the state. The economy in Utah receives a $6.4 billion contribution from recreational tourism and $737 million in state and local tax according to the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity.