SALT LAKE CITY — This past spring, Governor Gary Herbert, state leaders and Envision Utah asked all Utahns to weigh in on what they want their communities to look like in 2050.
Nearly 53,000 people responded on a range of issues, and Envision Utah just shared the first results on recreation.
“The scenic beauty and opportunities to enjoy in the state are one of the three key values of Utahns,” said Robert Grow, president and founding board member of Envision Utah.
In April, Envision Utah asked Utah residents to share their voices on 11 critical planning issues ranging from transportation and water resources to public lands, air quality and recreation. Grow says the 52,845 survey respondents make it the broadest planning survey of its kind ever in the country.
Overall, Utahns are happy with recreation in the state, Grow said. However, they want more, and they’re getting worried about crowding. Utahns envision their communities with more trails, more parks and more places to play outdoors. By 2050, when the state population will have nearly doubled from 2.9 million to 5.4 million, Utahns are worried about recreation overcrowding.
I think the next step is for the state to create an outdoor recreation plan, a 10-year plan like we’ve done in (the Utah Department of) Energy and some of the other agencies to make sure that we’re planning appropriately, and funding appropriately.
–Brad Petersen, director of the Utah Outdoor Recreation Office
“So, they want us to have a plan to expand the facilities and amenities to keep up with the growth, not to let it lag behind and become more crowded,” Grow said.
According to the “Your Utah, Your Future” survey, 67 percent of Utahns support spending more money on interconnected trails and parks.
“Two thirds of the people said that they’d even be willing to pay a slight tax increase to have that,” Grow said.
The state is already working with counties and communities on recreation projects across the state, but it does not have a recreation plan for the future, said Brad Petersen, director of the Utah Outdoor Recreation Office.
“I think the next step is for the state to create an outdoor recreation plan, a 10-year plan like we’ve done in (the Utah Department of) Energy and some of the other agencies to make sure that we’re planning appropriately, and funding appropriately,” he said.