Trail of DiscoveryDec 08, 2015 08:12AM ● By Alisha Soeken
By Alisha Soeken
Murray - One of Utah’s finest luxuries is its access to nature. We have outdoor recreation that rivals most. One of those luxuries is a trail that weaves in and out of urban areas, marshy riversides and parks for almost 50 miles. Early on a Friday morning, Teresa Flores was on that trail, enjoying a bike ride with her two young kids fastened behind her in a bike trailer.
“I love not having to ride on the roads, especially with kids. We live close by and it’s accessible by bike, so we go a lot. The kids love it,” she said.
The Jordan River Parkway is a trail that follows the Jordan River. The river flows north from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake; it has more then 23 trailheads, most of which have access to restrooms, water fountains, picnic areas and playgrounds. The trail is perfect for families, for fun and for discovery.
One of those discoveries might be the existence of things before the trail came to be, such as Bergertown, a settlement in Murray next to the Jordan River Parkway named after Christian Berger, who came to Utah in 1860 with the John Ross Party. Bergertown’s residents were from Scandinavia and Switzerland. They were poor and lived in dugouts to survive the fist winter in their new home. But, despite its insignificant beginnings, this area later became one of Murray’s most populated areas.
Diversity in bird life can also be discovered among the wetlands of the Jordan River. Canada goose, red-tailed hawks, black-capped chickadees and the red-winged blackbird are a few of the over 100 different species that have been identified. Visitors might also spot the rare bald eagle, rufous hummingbird or yellow-rumped warbler.
Protection of the Jordan River corridor is essential to those birds. There are also migratory species that use the wetlands as a place for food and rest on their thousand-mile flight from the Arctic to Argentina. Opportunities exist today to preserve the remaining open areas along the Jordan River, to restore its wetlands and ensure its habitats.
When pioneers first began to inhabit the Salt Lake Valley, their goal may not have been preservation so much as survival. Yet even then, the area along the Jordan River provided a stark contrast, with its willows and cottonwoods, to the barren, sage-ridden wilderness around them. That beauty is still abundant, and as you walk over its miles of trails and quiet fields next to quacking ducks and colorful wildflowers, you can’t help but hope for your next adventure in it.