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Tales from Utah Valley: Have fun and be safe on the Murdock Canal Trail

By Laura Giles - Special to the Daily Herald | Jun 8, 2024

SARAH WEISER, Daily Herald file photo

Abi Hassinger, left, and Britta ny Heringer, right, run along the Murdock Canal Trail in Lindon on Saturday, May 4, 2013.

We are lucky to live in an area with beautiful spaces and ample opportunities to spend time in nature. These places include the many trails around the county. One of those, the Murdock Canal Trail, is a local favorite.

The Murdock Canal, built in the early 1900s, used to be an open canal. My family loved to walk along the canal on the dirt trail that meandered alongside of it. In 2011-2012, the canal was enclosed and a paved trail was built. At first, many of us were disappointed that the canal would be enclosed — we loved seeing the ducks swimming and walking along with the tranquil sounds of the water. However, the paved Murdock Canal Trail has not been a disappointment.

Not only is the trail a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and see some beautiful views, but people also often add to the experience. I often see messages of encouragement or happiness written on the trail pavement with sidewalk chalk. In fact, in 2020, a family whose home is adjacent to the trail in Pleasant Grove wrote regular messages of hope with chalk on the side of their home. Another nearby homeowner plants wildflowers on their property right next to the trail for users to enjoy.

Many of us love using the Murdock Canal Trail as it winds through northern Utah County — through hills, trees and plant life — with views of the mountains on one side and the valley on the other. I see people using the trail year-round, but this is the time of year that it can get really busy and, sometimes, even congested. If you have spent much time on the trail, you have probably seen a few near-misses as some users, usually going too fast or in the wrong direction or just not paying attention, come close to hurting others.

Just a few weeks ago, the Pleasant Grove Police Department’s social media post was all about safety on the trail. “Spring is here. The weather is great and many of you are getting out and enjoying the sunshine. The Murdock Canal Trail will be seeing a lot more traffic in the months to come,” it stated. “This year the police department is prepared to have a presence up there. We have recently acquired new e-bikes that will help us in our policing efforts on the canal path. We will have uniformed officers up there on our e-bikes making contacts and doing a lot of educating for those who are unsure of the laws, especially in the areas where the canal intersects with city streets.

Jeremy Hall

Laura Giles

“If you see them up there, be sure to ask them to clarify any questions you may have as it relates to the laws on the canal. They’ll also be making traffic stops and taking enforcement action. If you haven’t noticed, the canal path has recently posted a speed limit. The speed limit is 15 MPH. We have a lot of cyclists that are exceeding this speed, and it’s creating a safety hazard for everyone. We hope our presence up there can make the canal safer so everyone can enjoy the path,” it continued.

In addition to heeding the speed limit, we can all be safer by remembering to stop at stop signs, keep pets leashed, clean up after pets and remember to stay to the right. If you can’t pass safely, don’t pass. Happy trails!

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