It’s an early, warm spring morning under a clear sky, around nine in the morning. The birds are singing and enjoying a spring feast. In fact, everyone on the Jordan River Parkway at the Winchester trailhead has spring fever. You can see it in their faces, which is why I asked for their opinion on the Parkway.
There are no shortage of answers. Paul and Rebecca Simmons give a litany of reasons, including sage advice like “nature is good for the soul” and “it promotes a healthy body, mind and spirit.”
Paul calls the Parkway “beautiful and peaceful,” and says “it rids us of all the stress of the day. It is also much quicker than going to the mountains.”
“I feel blessed to live in the city and still have all of this beauty around me,” Rebecca said.
Seraphina Jones on the Winchester trail.
This opinion is shared by many others. “It’s peaceful and beautiful and there’s no traffic. That’s the biggest reason to come,” Seraphina Jones says.
For many, the biggest reason for coming is nature. Dave Brown, a regular, says, “It’s a nice, natural setting. I’ve seen deer, foxes, and all kinds of animals along the trail,” he says.
Bill Wagner, a retired nature photographer, says he’s there for the fishing. Several others have come for bird watching, binoculars in hand. They point out the many species of birds along the Parkway.
Karen Tibbitts, Pat Mongiat and others point to the safety of being surrounded by pleasant people on the trails. Mongiat comes every day for the fresh air and to exercise her dog, Mia. She moved to the area from Flagstaff, Ariz. a year ago. With a look of appreciation for what the cities have done for residents by providing the Parkway, she says, “I thoroughly enjoy it! It’s safe, there are no cars, and everyone obeys the rules.”
Pat Mongiat and Mia on the Parkway for their daily walk.
I caught up to a mother and daughter team on their way out of the park. Emily Giles and Lori Pond tell me they’ve just broken off from the Bennion East Stake Youth Group. “Our youth group trains for track on the Parkway two or three times a week,” said Lori Pond, the group’s leader. “Our family also uses the picnic areas for church and family parties.”
There seems to be no lack of reasons behind why people love the Jordan River Parkway, or why they choose it for exercise and their recreational and nature walks. A few noted that they feel safer on some parts of the Parkway than others, and that some areas still need a little dressing up. Others point to the empty doggie bag dispenser, but none of it stops them from coming. All in all, people feel the city fathers and the Jordan River Commission have done a great public service with the Parkway.
Restoration is ongoing along the Parkway, and spring conservation activities are coming up in May. They include: Get into the River – Conservation Day on Thursday, May 14, and Get Into the River – Festival Day on Saturday, May 30. All are encouraged to join with others to help preserve, maintain and restore the 51 mile long park.