After months of construction and hundreds of volunteer hours, the Valley Vista trail system officially opened Saturday in Pleasant Grove with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The ribbon cutting took place at the Valley Vista trailhead, about a quarter mile north of the Wade Springs parking lot along the Murdock Canal Trail in Pleasant Grove.

Valley Vista currently includes eight trails for a combined distance of approximately 5.5 miles. The trails can be used by anything non-motorized and are frequented by cyclists, trail runners, hikers and equestrians.

There are benches, a kiosk and a bike rack at the lower trailhead. According to Jason Cowley, who spearheaded the project, there is easy access to the bench road and more wilderness trails on the east side and to the Murdock Canal Trail on the west side.

The trails were actually completed last fall, but since that time they have been refined for public use. Cowley said they are already being used a lot.

“On an average weekday you will see between 20 and 40 users, and on weekends that number can double or even triple,” he said.

Many volunteer hours have been put in to help get the trails ready for use. At the end of April, approximately 200 people showed up for a community volunteer day.

“We had multiple projects going simultaneously, including a cleanup and pruning of each existing trail, construction of a new equestrian trail, dead fall and brush removal, and a massive re-vegetation effort that planted hundreds of native shrubs and trees and put down 100 pounds of native grass seed,” said Cowley, adding there will be more volunteer opportunities in the future.

Cowley said the entire project has been a community effort.

“This is what happens when good citizens step up and put their minds to building a better city,” he said. “It isn’t just me or any one person who made this happen but a whole community, and now we have an amazing new natural park that will promote healthy living, outdoor recreation and environmental preservation in our community for generations to come.”

There is a Phase 2 planned for the trails, which will more than double the size of the trail system, extending it north to the border of Cedar Hills and adding an additional six miles of trails. That is awaiting approval from the city and funding, Cowley said.

There is a donation site set up where people can donate to the project. A link to that can be found on the city’s website at www.plgrove.org.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Brian Fruit, owner of Timpanogos Cyclery, presented the city with a donation of $10,000 to be used for Phase 2.

“The making of the Valley Vista Trails has been a community effort, led by resident Jason Cowley, whose passion and vision inspired many to join him in making it happen,” said Pleasant Grove City Councilwoman Cyd LeMone.

Since last fall when the trails were officially completed, LeMone has heard from many residents and non-residents about what an amazing project it is.

“I am grateful that a beautiful trail has been constructed that will give our youth, family and residents the opportunity to get outside and enjoy Pleasant Grove,” she said.

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