Draper • Ann Parr might not have been there in person, but her spirit permeated Monday's dedication of a tunnel unifying two prize pieces of open space in the Salt Lake Valley's southeastern foothills.
Speaker after speaker lauded the vision and perseverance of the trails enthusiast, equestrian and longtime Draper planning commissioner who, until sidelined recently by failing health, was instrumental in leading the drive for a trail system linking 633 acres in Little Valley with 1,000 in Corner Canyon.
"She's Mrs. Trail," said Draper Mayor Darrell Smith at a ribbon-cutting ceremony formally opening the tunnel beneath Traverse Ridge Road. Its construction and the purchase of Little Valley's brush-covered slopes and spring-fed pond was paid for with $2.75 million from the Open Space Trust Fund bond approved by county voters in 2006.
County Mayor Peter Corroon said it was money well spent, preserving prime parcels of countryside linked by trails that afford hikers, bikers and horseback riders stunning views of the valley.
"It's neat to look down on the [Draper LDS] temple," said Jenny Murdock, a friend and fan of Parr and a regular user of the trail system. Murdock especially recommended the view "at night when the temple lights are on and the valley lights are in the background."
After having helped shepherd the open-space program and this project through various regulatory processes, County Councilman Randy Horiuchi and former Councilwoman Jenny Wilson were beaming at the ceremony.
When the project received its final go-ahead, Horiuchi said, "I did an end-zone dance and spiked the [project's] file folder to the floor."
Upon seeing it done, Wilson said, "this is why I was in office … [providing] what city and county residents want. This is one project I'm proud of."
Draper residents for generations to come will be proud of it, predicted City Councilman William Rappleye, who claimed he was "educated by Ann Parr" in his 10 years as a city planning commissioner.
While initially skeptical that her vision of a trail system ever could come to pass, Rappleye said he has been won over. "It took a buy-in to see how important this is," he said, "making usable space and not just something to look at."
That has paid economic dividends for Draper, Rappleye added, the recreational opportunities flowing from these lands helping to entice companies such as eBay to do business in the city.
Besides buying the land, Salt Lake County has a conservation easement on the open space. Draper owns and manages the land.
Draper Rim Loop
A tunnel dedicated Monday unifies Ann's Trail, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and Clark's Trail to create a 10.2-mile loop.