DRAPER, Utah -- It's winter, but Utah has had unseasonably warm weather recently.
The warm weather sparks that itch to get outdoors, and some people are taking the opportunity to hike and bike. But in Draper, folks need to be cautious as some trails are closed.
“Even with signs and chains we still find evidence of people using closed trails," said Greg Hilbig, Draper City Trails and Open Space Manager.
Three trails in Draper are closed as of January 1, 2018: Vertigo, Levitate, and Woods Hollow.
All three trails can be accessed through the trail head at the corner of Traverse Ridge Road and Eagle Crest Drive. Hilbig said there is no tentative reopen date; it all depends on the weather and how fast the soil will dry out. If enough snowpack accumulates, the trails will reopen for winter recreation. If not, the trails could be closed until May.
Hilbig said people need to heed the warning and closed signs.
"When people ride it they leave ruts, which leads to puddling. Those ruts can also freeze, causing other problems," he explained.
A city-hired park ranger is patrolling the area. If the ranger catches you, he will issue you a citation. When the trails closed Monday, Hilbig said five citations were issued right off the bat.
He said they do not want people to face serious consequences, but they needed a sure way to help keep people from destroying the taxpayer-funded trails, which would cost additional time and money to fix.
"We’d rather be building new trails as opposed to fixing trails that have been damaged," Hilbig said.
The city has invested a lot of time and money into the trail system, Hilbig said. He explained it is not easy to keep 5,000 acres of open space and about 100 miles of trails nice. That is where the public comes in to help by staying out of the mud when told.
“If it’s not sticking to your boots or to your wheels, you’re probably okay; but if you’re slipping and sliding, it’s sticking to your tires, it’s sticking to your boots—you probably shouldn’t be on that trail," Hilbig said.
For more information, visit the Draper City Trails and Open Space Facebook page.