WELLSVILLE – The parking lot view of the new Murray Family trailhead alone is worth a drive. The ribbon cutting for the new trailhead took place Thursday morning. The view across the Cache Valley from the trailhead is almost as good as the view on the trail.
Wellsville resident Glen Ames said he hikes the trail a lot and occasionally will ride his trail bike on the trail.
“It’s about two and a half miles and some of it is steep, but it is a beautiful hike,” he said. “It’s not the best for mountain biking; it is kind of short.”
Ames’ wife Kaylene Ames is on the Wellsville City Council. She expressed her gratitude to the Murray family for letting the public have access by selling the 603 acres of the Murray estate to the Forest Service.
Jennefer Parker, Ranger for the Logan Ranger District, said the Forest Service purchased the property in 2005.
The property was purchased from Dean and Allison Murray through the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 2005 to conserve open space, protect wildlife habitat, and secure future public access to the Wellsville Mountain Wilderness area.
“With the help of the Division of Wildlife Resources we restored some of the habitat to benefit the deer, moose, elk and turkey populations,” she said. “A lot of people and organizations worked hard to make this something Dean and Allison Murray would appreciate.”
Zach Maughan, the trails and dispersed recreation manager for the U.S. Forest Service, said a lot of the work to acquire the property was done before he began working for the Forest Service.
“We started working on this five years ago and it was a lot of work,” he said. “There are a lot of partners who made it possible: The State of Utah, Cache County, the U.S. Forest Service, Rural School Funding and more.”
Cache County and the Logan Ranger District worked in partnership to construct a new year-round trailhead outside of Wellsville on National Forest System Land.
The Cache County Public Works Director Matt Phillips said the new trailhead and trails give a sense of community pride.
“My hats off to the roads crew. They had a lot of challenges,” he said. “So many organizations pitched in to make this happen. We are impacting the quality of life in Cache Valley.”
Pitt Grewe, the director of Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, said studies they have seen put Utah’s outdoor recreation in Utah is the number one driving factor in bringing people to the state.
“Outdoor recreation comes before family, career advancement opportunities and cost of living in Utah, a recent study showed,” he said. “Kudos to Cache Valley doing these kinds of projects.”
Carolyn Murray, oldest daughter of Dean and Allison Murray, said it was her parents’ wish to never let the property be developed.
“I want everyone of you to enjoy this trail,” she said. “It will be enjoyed for perpetuity.”
Local Boy Scout Joseph Hammer talked about his experiences hiking the Wellsville mountains and he was asked to cut the ceremonial ribbon for opening the new trail.
Funding was secured to build the trailhead through the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, the Recreation Trail Program, and the Northern Utah Resource Advisory Committee of the U.S. Forest Service. Complete with a vault toilet, the trailhead has 12 parking stalls and eight trailer parking spaces.
The trailhead will also connect non-motorized hikers to Narrow and Wide Canyon trails, as well as the Wellsville Ridge Trail.