If it’s been a while since you’ve gone for a good health walk, run or a bike ride — or have been looking for a good reason to start one of those exercise pursuits — give the new Smelter Pathway a try.
It starts just east of the intersection of Ericson Road and Old Smelter Highway, and heads east of Tooele City for 2.3 miles on the Old Smelter Highway to the top of a hill that provides a rewarding view of Tooele Valley, the Oquirrh and Stansbury mountains, the Great Salt Lake and Stansbury Island.
The Smelter Pathway really isn’t new. The route has been popular with walkers, runners and cyclists for years, thanks to its convenient proximity to Tooele City, its ideal length and scenery. In recent years, however, the road and its wide, paved shoulders had deteriorated. Cyclists had to avoid potholes, and runners and walkers had to be careful of their footfalls.
But on Sept. 25, the Tooele County Commission, officials from the Tooele County Health Department and some health enthusiasts snipped a red ribbon to commemorate a recently completed $230,000 improvement project that has put the Smelter Pathway in great shape.
The cooperative project between the county commission and the health department consists of 8 1/2-foot-wide strips of fresh asphalt on Smelter Highway’s eastbound and westbound shoulders, from Ericson Road to just past the entrance of the Tooele Gun Club. Potholes were filled and a sealant applied. Also new are freshly painted cycling symbols and striping on both shoulders that delineate the pathway for walkers, runners and cyclists.
The project’s price tag was shared between the county commission and the health department, with funds used from a recent county budget adjustment involving the health department’s fund balance.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Kim Clausing, a health educator with the health department, and who played a vital role in coordinating the project, said, “It’s really nice to hear that people who stopped using this road because of potholes are using it again. … People are saying they feel safer now from cars and from tripping.”
The new improvements are even more valuable after a project that was completed last summer. The county health department joined efforts with a local Boy Scout service project to mark a walking route on Smelter Pathway. With grant money from the Utah Health Department’s Environment, Policy and Clinical Care program, signs were placed at the start, end, and every quarter mile so users can measure their progress.
The county commission and health department are acknowledged and thanked for making improvements to Smelter Pathway. Given Tooele County’s current high ranking in the state for obesity and diabetes, the investment sends a clear message that helping residents improve or maintain good health is a priority that shouldn’t be ignored.
Furthermore, the county is encouraged to vigorously pursue its ongoing active transportation plans, which in part include a proposed pathway from Erda to Lake Point. That proposal will be part of an open house from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 11 at the Stansbury Park Clubhouse.