gravel pit at Mapleton Parkway Trail

The gravel pit at Mapleton Parkway Trail, as mapped out here by the Mapleton City Police Department, has seen many target shooters, but private-property areas in the area spoke out to police. Now, police say they will not allow it.

Property owners spoke out. Now, police have increased their presence and put up warning signs on Mapleton Parkway Trail for recreational shooters and vehicle-drivers to stay off the trail.

People have traditionally shot in a gravel-pit area near Mapleton Parkway Trail.

“It’s become known over the years where people can shoot,” said John Jackson, Mapleton’s police chief. “[But] they are shooting right towards our trail. ... All of the property owners there are saying ‘we don’t want people down there.’”

Property owners complained about motorcycles on their land. Also, “some people on the trail were not comfortable with the motorcycles on the trail,” Jackson remarked.

On Friday, city staff added four no-trespassing signs, with more that Mapleton Police Department custom-ordered to be put up this week. On Saturday, Jackson had to close a gate in the same area twice.

“People were still on the motorcycles,” Jackson remarked. “They just take down the gate and (go) on through.”

The police’s objective on the trail is not complex, Jackson said.

“We simply want people to use our trail and feel safe in doing so,” he said.

Police wanted to tackle the criminal issue of trespassing now because with it being spring, people start recreating with their dirt bikes, Jackson said.

“The downside is people are also driving cars and ATVs on the trail, which is prohibited,” Jackson said. “The trails say ‘no motorized vehicles,’ and those signs are particularly indicated on the trail.”

Target shooting around 4000 South and State Route 89 is no longer legal because the trail now falls within municipal boundaries.

“We have an ordinance of shooting in the city limits,” Jackson said.

The target shooting has also resulted in a lot of trash deposited, so much so that a youth group was scheduled to clean the area Tuesday evening.

“There’s old computers; there’s everything down there,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of a little garbage heap.”

Jackson said police have contact information for all property owners.

“We have spoken with all of them on that south end,” Jackson remarked. “They’re all supportive; they don’t want anybody on their property.”

Jackson mentioned a particular demographic regarding the problem.

“We don’t want to write kids tickets on their dirt bikes,” Jackson said. “But if that gets them into driving on their trail, that’s what we (will) need to do.”

Rhett Wilkinson is the crime and courts reporter for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at rwilkinson@heraldextra.com.