Springville in the Spring

May 3, 8.5 miles (6 miles official BST, 1 mile unofficial BST route)*

At long last, we finally reached our first stretch of official, maintained, signed Bonneville Shoreline Trail! We traveled from Spring Canyon in eastern Springville, past the length of that city, to Slate Canyon in southern Provo.

The trail itself is a mix of singletrack and the firebreak/utility access road that is common for the BST. Since this slope at the base of Mt. Buckley is more southern-facing, there was almost no shade for most of the trail. Most of the trail is well-maintained and a sustainable design, except for one very steep hill just west of Spring Canyon where it climbs around some houses perched on the rather narrow Bonneville-level bench.

Here, and at other places along this stretch, the trail officially passes through private property. To talk about how this worked, we visited with Laurie Weisler, one of the landowners who have given up most rights to part of their backyard for the public good. The community is grateful for their sacrifice.

Because this segment is officially designated, we were finally able to start using our generous donations to improve the trail. Provo City have put up several trail markers through here, but there are a couple of confusing turns that were unsigned, so this was a good place to test our new sign design, with permission from Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. These all steel signs aren’t as pretty as wood posts, but I think they are nicer than the fiberglass markers, easier to install, more durable, and significantly cheaper (about $12-15 each). We’ll be putting up a few more in National Forest lands. We were also going to put new stickers on some of the older markers, but it appears that some kind soul has already done that recently.

Putting in these new signs was fun, except for having to carry the 20 pound post driver and the steel plates for 9 miles. At least we were smart and cached the posts at trailheads along the way. Speaking of which, I sure hope Springville is able to finish their trailheads at some point; the road going up to the one north of town is in very bad shape.

Another highlight of this segment was a view of Provo’s industrial history, including the site of the Columbia Steel mill (now home to a brand new car factory), ruins and tailings from limekilns, and an old gravel pit where we hope an official section of BST will be designated soon.

All in all, a great hike on a beautiful day!

*Note: if you’re wondering why the total length of our hikes always seems to be a lot longer than the amount of trail we cover, it’s because we do a fair number of short detours and a lot of back and forth on the trail as part of the filming process.

One Reply to “Springville in the Spring”

  1. Our family loves the Bonneville Shoreline Trail – thank you for the report videos!

    I’m very familiar with the area in the “State of the BST: Ep. 4” video starting at 17:39; the section looking down at the Columbia Steel ruins. Here are a few corrections and clarifications:

    1) This area of Provo is called Ironton because Columbia Steel put in a pig iron blast furnace and related facilities starting in 1923. This was called the Ironton Works and even though they never made steel at this facility, it was for a time the largest pig iron and coke plant west of the Mississippi.

    2) Capacity was more than doubled during World War II, and this is also when Geneva Steel was built up in the Orem-Vineyard area. During the war both facilities were operated by the Defense Plant Corporation.

    3) The plant was owned by US Steel when it closed down in 1966.

    4) The property was donated to Brigham Young University in 1968, then eventually went to Provo City, with major environmental cleanup from 1998 to 2000.

    As mentioned in the video, industry is now coming back into the area, but it’s much cleaner and less resource-intensive this time around.

    More info and site photos of the ruins from 2013 and 2016 at Jacob Barlow’s website: jacobbarlow.com/2013/10/31/ironton-utah/

    And some awesome black and white photos from 1942 at the Library of Congress: loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=ironton&co=fsa

    Keep up the good work!

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