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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Seven walking tours let locals learn history, enjoy nature

Nov 30, 2020 02:06PM ● By Cassie Goff

Downloadable PDFs for various walking tours are available on the Cottonwood Heights website. (Andy Hulka/Cottonwood Heights)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

Seven walking tours were recently unveiled in Cottonwood Heights for residents and visitors to explore various neighborhoods throughout the city. Each includes several points of historical interest, vegetation and planting, views of the Wasatch mountain range, and available parking. Under a relatively flat 3 miles a piece, these walks were designed with every fitness level in mind. 

The available walking tours are: City Hall/Butlerville Walk (2.5 miles), Bywater Park/Apple Valley Walk (2.7 miles), Big Cottonwood Canyon Creek Trail Walk (2 miles), Top of the World Walk (2.4 miles), Greenfield Way Walk (1.5 miles), Antczak Park Walk (3 miles), and Crestwood Park Walk (1.2 miles). 

These walking tours were created “in an effort to help residents explore their neighborhoods and learn more about the local history and natural beauty of our city,” said Cottonwood Heights Senior Planner Andy Hulka. 

Creating and publishing these seven walking tours was a collaborative project between residents, city committee members and city staff personnel. 

“Ronna Cohen spearheaded the project and worked with other members of the Parks, Trails and Open Space (PTOS) Committee and Historic Committee,” said former PTOS Committee Chair Melissa Fields. 

Last year, Cohen was visiting Vernal on a vacation with her husband and noticed a rack full of suggested activities at their hotel. One of the brochures outlined a walk through the city which led the couple past historical sites and provided detailed information. After that experience, Cohen thought to herself, “If Vernal can have that, why can’t Cottonwood Heights?” She pitched the idea during a PTOS meeting where the rest of the committee became thrilled by the idea.

Cohen reached out to the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee to ask if they would be interested in collaborating on the project. Historic Committee Member Gayle Conger and Secretary Carol Woodside were instantly excited. Together, this team of women asked for potential routes of consideration from the PTOS Committee members. They received many different routes from all over the city as residents submitted their usual jogging and dog-walking paths. 

“We were recruiting from everywhere,” Cohen said. She began exploring the city, walking through every suggested route submitted. She even recruited the help of her neighbors to walk through different routes as well.  

Once Cohen had narrowed down the potential walking routes, she handed over her hand-drawn maps to Conger and Woodside. 

“They ran with it,” Cohen said. “They looked at all the walks and were able to instantly pinpoint locations, explaining that this specific area was so-and-so’s homestead and this was a historic campground.”

Current PTOS Committee Chair Jen Shaw was then able to add contextual information about the Native American tribes within the city. Cohen’s family was even in on the development process as her mom (age 85) and dad (age 91) provided the first round of editing. 

As the walks were being drafted into brochures by Hulka, Cohen and others “did the walks again and took pictures of every point of interest.”  

After the routes had been finalized, Cottonwood Heights GIS Specialist Melissa Blue took charge of the photographs, mobile links, mapping, GIS and online access. 

“(Blue and Hulka) have so much creativity and commitment for this project,” Cohen said. 

Thirty brochures for each of the seven walks were published and became available to pick up at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center (7500 S. 2700 East), City Hall (2277 Bengal Blvd.), and Whitmore Library (2197 E. Fort Union Blvd.). Within the first two weeks, the Rec Center was completely out of brochures and City Hall was about ready for a restock. 

“When life gets back to normal, we plan to put these in the local hotels and more popular restaurants,” Cohen said. “It’s a great way for locals to get to know their neighborhoods a little better, and for people coming into town to have an activity to do.” 

All walking tours are accessible primarily through the city’s website. Interested attendees can access the walking tours brochures and guides with their mobile device and GPS, a PDF which can be printed at home, or a brochure found at the locations mentioned above.