November 27, 2022

Outdoor recreation activities continue to grow in popularity | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Karl Teemant Cyclists use Payson’s Forebay Trailhead in this…

Courtesy Karl Teemant

Cyclists use Payson’s Forebay Trailhead in this undated photo.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a lot of interest in outdoor recreation activities after people spent too much time indoors.

Even though COVID-19 concerns are generally dwindling, participation in outdoor activities continues to increase. Payson Community Service Director Karl Teemant said there has been exponential growth in recreation activities in Payson, the surrounding cities and statewide.

One of the area’s most popular recreational areas is the Forebay Trailhead, opened last year by Payson City. Teemant said there’s approximately 400 acres throughout Forebay and roughly 15 miles worth of trails for the public to use.

“We also have paved trails in town,” Teemant said. “The city did the Dry Creek Connection this year which connects our two largest trails. It’s our largest trail on the creek bed and then there’s a tunnel that goes under the highway and it heads out to Santaquin.”

He added that having more options allows people to find the activity best suited for them.

Courtesy Karl Teemant

Markers installed throughout the Forbay Trail by Payson City are shown in this undated photo.

“I’m more familiar in the mountain biking side, and that’s growing. People aren’t running on the roads. They go to unpaved trails, and they run them. Mountain biking is also become more popular. There’s more and more demand in that, and in my mind, that stems throughout the state,” he said.

Teemant noticed cycling has increased in popularity in teenagers and young adults, pointing out the Nebo Goats Mountain Bike Team which is made up of 7th to 12th graders from Springville, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Salem and Payson high schools. Teemant said the team has grown from 30 participants, just 10 years ago, to over 200 now.

Raistlin Hartman, owner of Ride n’ Bikes shop in Payson, has also seen a tremendous increase in outdoor activities, particularly cycling.

“It’s been booming,” Hartman said. “COVID-19 blew up the bike shop industry and everyone found out they could recreate outside. I mean, there were families of five coming in here and spending $3,000 on bikes to have fun outside. COVID is on the downfall really and you’d think people would slow down or want to sell those bikes, but that hasn’t been the case. People really fell in love with cycling and it’s exploding.”

Although he opened his shop in February, Hartman managed the bike store that was previously there for 10 years.

Courtesy Karl Teemant

Markers installed throughout the Forbay Trail by Payson City are shown in this undated photo.

Being connected to the industry, Hartman saw how important Payson’s recreational areas were to the community. A few years ago, a developer approached the city wanting to turn areas in Forebay into housing developments, something Hartman is grateful never happened.

“It was baffling because they built like 18 miles of trails up there and the whole community uses it, not just bikers,” he said. “So, the community came together and created Forebay Forever and showed Payson City that these trails were used for recreation users, and we fought tooth and nail. In the end, Payson City recognized that our recreation in the area is only growing.”

Also becoming popular in the area, and allowing a more diverse group of people enjoy cycling, are E-Bikes, according to Hartman. E-Bikes have an electric motor built into them that gives pedal assistance to riders, allowing cyclists to ride longer while using less effort.

Elk Ridge resident Chad Nelson and his family are frequent shoppers at Ride n’ Bikes because of the available land in southern Utah County.

“A lot of the draw is Forebay Trail. It’s kind of been a cultural shift because this area has mostly been seen as farmland and everything like that,” Nelson said.

Courtesy Raistlin Hartman

Payson Ride n’ Bikes owner Raistlin Hartman and Toni Hartman are shown on one of the bikes in this undated photo.


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