SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – If you’ve ever hiked around Utah, you probably never thought about how those trails came to be. Utah’s hidden heroes are those trail workers who work to create and maintain trails around Utah.

Trails Utah is one non-profit group that is dedicated to planning, funding, and building trails throughout Utah. It’s a process most people don’t think about often.

Sarah Bennett is the executive director and one of the biggest advocates of Trails Utah. Her work goes back to the early 2000s when she helped fund and create the Emigration Canyon Trails Master Plan.

“By the time you actually get on the ground and shovel the dirt for a new trail, there’s already been 2 or 3 years of planning for the trail.” Said Bennet.

Bennet went on to explain that the biggest hurdles aren’t the excavation of the actual trail but rather working to get cities to approve and fund a trail system.

“Some of our most difficult issues are with homeowners that don’t want a trail system near their home. They say they don’t want people able to look in their backyard, so we have limited areas to build.

While Utah may have many walking trails, a huge surge in mountain biking has taken over high school students around the state. “Residents in Salt Lake that want to mountain bike have to travel to either Park City or Ogden to find trails,” Bennett said.

Trails Utah is working to get more mountain biking trails created in Salt Lake County. “Some people don’t realize just how big of an investment trails are for the community,” Bennet said. “It can increase the property value of homes and communities.”

Once the trail is completed though its still not finished. Those that funded or have stakes in the trail systems are still responsible for maintaining the trail long after its finished.

The next time you go hiking in Utah, don’t forget to think about the planning and effort that went into it.

To learn more about Trails Utah or to get involved visit here.

Courtesy of Trails Utah