Outside recreation actions proceed to develop in recognition | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

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Courtesy of Karl Teemant

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a huge interest in outdoor recreation after people spent too much time indoors.

Even as concerns about COVID-19 generally recede, participation in outdoor activities continues to increase. Payson Community Service Director Karl Teemant said recreational activities in Payson, the surrounding towns and across the state have grown exponentially.

One of the area’s most popular recreational areas is the Forebay Trailhead, which Payson City opened last year. Teemant said there are about 400 acres and about 15 miles of hiking trails throughout Forebay that the public can use.

“We also have paved roads in the city,” Teemant said. “The city established the Dry Creek Connection this year, connecting our two largest trails. It’s our longest walk in the creek bed and then there’s a tunnel that goes under the highway to Santaquin.”

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

Courtesy of Karl Teemant

This undated photo shows markers installed throughout Payson City’s Forbay Trail.

“I’m more familiar with mountain biking, and that’s growing. People don’t walk the streets. They walk on unpaved paths and run them. Mountain biking is also becoming increasingly popular. There’s increasing demand, and I think it’s coming from across the state,” he said.

Noting that biking is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and young adults, Teemant pointed to the Nebo Goats Mountain Bike Team, which is made up of students in grades 7 through 12 from Springville, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Salem, and High Schools Payson composed. 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 noticed a huge increase in outdoor activities, especially cycling.

“It’s booming,” Hartman said. “COVID-19 blew up the bike shop industry and everyone found they could recreate themselves outside. I mean, families of five would come here and spend $3,000 on bikes to have fun outside. COVID is really on the wane and you’d think people would slow down or want to sell these bikes, but that wasn’t the case. People have really fallen in love with cycling and it’s exploding.”

Although he opened his shop in February, Hartman ran the bike shop that had previously existed there for 10 years.

Courtesy of Karl Teemant

This undated photo shows markers installed throughout Payson City’s Forbay Trail.

Through his industry connections, Hartman recognized the importance of Payson’s recreational areas to the community. A few years ago, a developer approached the city about turning areas of Forebay into housing developments, something Hartman is grateful never happened.

“It was confusing because they built about 18 miles of trails up there and the whole community uses them, not just bikers,” he said. “So the community came together and created Forebay Forever and showed Payson City that these trails are for recreational users and we fought tooth and nail. In the end, Payson City realized our recovery in the area was only growing.”

E-bikes are also becoming more popular in the area, according to Hartman, allowing a wider group of people to enjoy cycling. E-bikes have a built-in electric motor that assists the rider while pedaling, allowing cyclists to ride longer while using less effort.

Elk Ridge resident Chad Nelson and his family often shop at Ride n’ Bikes due to land availability in southern Utah County.

“A lot of the draw is the forebay trail. It was kind of a cultural shift because that area was mostly thought of as farmland and whatnot,” Nelson said.

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

This undated photo shows markers installed throughout Payson City’s Forbay Trail.

This undated photo shows markers installed throughout Payson City’s Forbay Trail.

Raistlin Hartman and Toni Hartman, owners of Payson Ride n’ Bikes, are seen riding one of the bikes in this undated photo.


Courtesy of Raistlin Hartman

Raistlin Hartman and Toni Hartman, owners of Payson Ride n’ Bikes, are seen riding one of the bikes in this undated photo.

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