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Building Bridges for a Better Tomorrow: The Story of Our Latest Trail Project

Updated: Jun 14

On Saturday, June 8th, 2024, the Don't Waste Our Trails community gathered for an incredible day of volunteerism and trail improvement. Our mission to maintain and repair trails led us to Adams Canyon in Layton, Utah, where we took on the challenge of replacing an old, unsafe bridge. The event was a resounding success, thanks to the dedication of our volunteers and supporters.


Event Preparation and Planning

Planning for this event began a month in advance. Coordinating with the County for permission was crucial, and organizing the milling of a dead tree near the bridge for beams was a unique and sustainable approach. Dustin Badger from Ellison Tree Company played a pivotal role, milling the tree on-site just days before the event.

Spreading the word about the event was a multi-faceted effort. I reached out to hikers directly on the trail, while Jocelyn Gardiner of Jocelyn Gardiner Photography designed and posted signs at the trailhead. Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok were also instrumental in rallying volunteers.


The Bridge Project

The old bridge had been in disrepair for years, compromised by spring runoff and erosion, making it hazardous to cross. Addressing this issue was vital for the safety of all trail users. The project spanned several days, with the final assembly taking about three hours on the event day. The distance from the trailhead to the bridge site, approximately 1.5 miles, added a layer of complexity. Volunteers had to be resourceful, often improvising with the tools and materials on hand due to the difficulty of fetching additional supplies.



Materials and Logistics

Using a nearby dead tree for the bridge’s frame was not only environmentally friendly but also logistically smart. The tree was milled into beams on-site, and the rest of the materials were purchased from a local hardware store. Transporting these materials up the mountain was no small feat. Volunteers carried tools and chainsaws in backpacks, while larger pieces of lumber were shouldered or transported in multiple trips. I left materials at the trailhead with a sign asking for help, and the community responded enthusiastically.


Impact and Community Response

The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Hikers and local residents have expressed their gratitude both in person and online. The new bridge has not only made the trail safer but also brought the community together. People have been reaching out to suggest other trails that need attention, which is inspiring and encouraging for the future of Don't Waste Our Trails.


Fundraising and Merchandise

To continue our work, we rely on the sale of merchandise. Our range includes t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and water bottles. Each purchase supports future projects, helping us buy materials and organize events. You can find our merchandise on our website at dontwasteourtrails.com, and every item sold helps us keep our trails safe and enjoyable for everyone.


Personal Reflections and Future Plans

Starting Don't Waste Our Trails was driven by a personal passion for the outdoors. My journey began with a personal goal to hike every day for 90 days, which eventually extended to a year and a half until I had to undergo knee surgery. After multiple surgeries and partial knee replacements, I am now back to hiking almost every day.

During my daily hikes, I noticed a significant amount of garbage on the trails and began bringing bags to collect it. My awareness expanded to other trail issues, such as dangerous metal fence posts. Realizing that "someone" needed to take action, I decided to be that someone. I found plastic caps for the posts and installed them, receiving a thank-you note from a grateful trail user. This small act of improvement inspired me to look for more ways to help.

I came up with the name Don't Waste Our Trails, created some shirts, and started organizing events. So far, all of our events have been successful. Looking ahead, I am planning more initiatives, such as "Trash Hikes," where I provide biodegradable garbage bags to hikers to help clean up the trails. Our first Trash Hike at Donut Falls Trail in Salt Lake City was a success, and we will be announcing the next one soon.

Thank you to everyone who participated, donated, or supported us in any way. Together, we’re building more than just bridges; we’re building a stronger, more connected community. Stay tuned for future events and join us in our mission to keep our trails beautiful and safe.

For more information and to support our cause, visit our website or follow us on Instagram and TikTok. Let's keep making a difference, one trail at a time.

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