Well, I saw and experienced first-hand some of what makes for “quality of life” potential last Saturday.
The “Pirates of the Trail Day” celebrated the opening of walking/jogging and biking trails along the “rail trails” in Farmington and Clinton, and showcased other trails in the cities in between.
Young and old could be seen walking the trail on what, thankfully, was a warm but largely overcast day – lessening the chances for sunburn.
There were roller bladers, skateboarders, young families and many of us older folks, either riding bikes or walking all or part of the trail.
Scavenger hunts, historic displays about the Denver, Rio Grande & Western Railroad, as well as prizes and water/information stops along the way made for a festive atmosphere at points along the way.
The DRG&W Railroad, as it was commonly called, operated to varying degrees through Davis County for more than 100 years.
As explained to me by Bill Sanders, curator of the Heritage Museum in Layton, a narrow gauge line was built through the county, south to north, in 1882. He manned a booth with lots of pictures and information about the railroad, with the freight portion folded into the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1988, and passenger service taken over by Amtrak.
“It’s amazing how we lose track of history,” Sanders said. “Some people asked me, ‘What does DRG&W stand for?’”
Along the trail, on the Layton/Kaysville portion that I walked, there were old signal boxes and even some iron rails visible, discarded by crews as the rail line was disbanded, years ago.
Reporter/photographer Louise Shaw caught the action in Farmington, where city dignitaries were on hand to open a new trail.
Mayor Scott Harbertson was there for the ribbon cutting near the Legacy Events Center. He praised the efforts of George Chapman, who has long been involved in working to make the community a better place.
Chapman said the city reportedly has 105 miles of trails, stretching from the hillsides on the east to the Great Salt Lake. That’s believed to be about the highest number of miles in the state.
In Kaysville, which Louise also visited, the recreation department ran a booth that even included doggie treats, along with bananas, Frisbees, and more.
Long after the official celebration was open, there were plenty of people making their way along the trail. Even the mom with two very tired youngsters that I encountered heading north from Kaysville back to north Layton appeared relieved at finishing, but glad they’d done it.
There’s really a lot to this quality of life thing. It’s alive and well, and growing.
Thanks to all who have worked so hard to make these trails happen!