October 21, 2020

The Butch Cassidy Trail

This semester can be challenging to find fun things to do outside of classes. The cooler autumn weather brings more comfort in spending time outdoors and Price city features many bike trail systems with the newest one on Utah State University Eastern land.

The Butch Cassidy Trail is located east of the Toy Atwood Ball Complex in north Price. It is a 5-mile loop on 450 acres of USUE land.

The development of the trail came about when members of the community came together to look for opportunities to bring in economic development to Carbon County. 

Mark Jespersen, owner of Altitude Cycle and coach of the Carbon High mountain bike team, wanted to create a National Interscholastic Cycling Association-certified-mountain-bike course in Price. A NICA certified course could bring thousands of visitors to Price on race weekends. Jespersen was looking for a plot of land in the surrounding area that would fit the requirements of a NICA certified course. USU happened to own land in north Price that would serve as a mountain bike trail.

Kirt Jensen, a graduate student in USU’s Public Health Education and Promotion program, began facilitating the creation of this course. Many obstacles existed in beginning the project including getting Price city and USUE’s approval, as well as negotiating with the utility companies to build the trail. 

Plans for the course began in 2018 and approval was granted in 2019.

USUE’s heavy equipment program students used the project as an opportunity to gain experience by carving trails and moving dirt with heavy equipment. 

“Volunteers were invaluable in the creation of the trail,” said Kirt Jensen. Members of the Carbon High School mountain bike team, USUE community and Price city worked for days cleaning up literally tons of debris and garbage on the site. Many businesses donated time and supplies including Emery Telecom, CJ’s Do It Center, Waste & Water Logistics, Nelco Construction, Carbon County, and many other community members, including parents of the mountain bike team members were all involved. The creation of the Butch Cassidy Trail was a collaborative effort of USUE, Price city, Carbon County and countless other community partners.

The trail was finished and Price’s first NICA high school mountain bike race was held in August 2019.

The 2019 race was such a hit that three more NICA races were held on the trail in late August and early September. Each weekend’s race brought thousands of visitors to the community.

The course was featured extensively on the 2019 season recap video on utahmb.org. With stunning views, a challenging mountain bike trail and a quiet location, it’s no wonder why the trail has been successful.

Price is a unique community with close access to outdoor activities. Dr. Gary Straquadine, associate vice president of career and technical education at USUE, enjoys running on the trail at least twice a week. He hopes to keep the trail clean and free of vandalism. Straquadine teaches his students about “Broken Windows Theory,” a theory which addresses the onset of vandalism. As long as an area is kept clean, it has the potential to remain unmarred by vandals. Once the first act of destruction is evident, an area or property’s cleanliness and value can quickly fall. Straquadine urges those visiting the trail to help keep it clean and beautiful for the community.

The Butch Cassidy Trail is open to the public for recreational biking, hiking and trail running. The trailhead can be accessed near the northwest corner of the Toy Atwood Ball Complex.

Current USU students with active ID cards can check out bikes for free from the USU Eastern Blue Bikes shop located under the Police Building just north of the Student Center on campus. Mountain bikes can be checked out for up to a week, and cruiser and BMX bikes can be borrowed for up to a month. 

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