All private events in Corner Canyon may be outlawed with potential Draper permit change
DRAPER, Utah — Imagine if a city forced you out of business, then decided to do your business themselves.
Don Hantla, owner of Happy Trails Running, said that’s what happened to him.
Hantla started his company in 2018, hosting his company’s first Corner Canyon Half Marathon in 2019.
A successful event, Hantla said he planned on repeating the event in 2020.
“We were scheduled to do six races,” he said. “Because of COVID, we had to cancel four of them.”
In 2021 most of Hantla’s races were back on track, except the Corner Canyon Half Marathon.
“[Draper City] voted to cancel these races because of trail usage,” Hantla explained. “They said that the trails were too busy.”
Hantla’s race had been scheduled for June 12.
On Oct. 2, a Corner Canyon Half Marathon took place, but it was not organized by Hantla.
Draper City hosted its own Corner Canyon Half Marathon, with a course, Hantla said, that was similar to his own.
“It’s just really hypocritical and quite an abuse of power, if you ask me,” he lamented.
Hantla told KSL-TV he went to Draper City multiple times to plead his case and asked they allow him to hold his race in future years.
He indicated that he would limit race entries to alleviate concerns about congestion and overuse.
“What I’ve been told now is ‘we are not accepting applications for next year at this time,’” he said.
Don Hantla, owner of Happy Trails Running, says he planned another year of his Corner Canyon Half, only to have @drapercity tell him no. Instead, they hosted their own Corner Canyon Half. Don asked @KslMatt to investigate. @KSL5TV #tonightat6 #running pic.twitter.com/wgGLdqDsy5
— Cindy St. Clair (@CindyStClair08) November 1, 2021
KSL-TV attempted to speak with Draper Mayor Troy Walker about the situation.
The night before the scheduled interview, Draper’s spokesperson canceled the interview because “Mr. Hantla has representation and has stated that he wants to pursue legal action against the city, so in light of that, the City is not going to comment any further at this time beyond the response I sent previously via email.”
In that email from the spokesperson, they wrote there are “concerns from residents about impacts related to race events,” adding “our first responsibility is to our residents.”
The email continued: “The council feels that City-organized events in these areas are acceptable to residents because the City can control the number of participants, frequency, and manage potential impacts.”
But when KSL-TV filled out an official public records request for all emails related to the Corner Canyon Half Marathon, we found that limiting attendees and trail impact wasn’t what the city was celebrating.
In an email from the Draper Parks and Recreation Director to the U.S. Forest Service dated June 11, 2021, he boasted that the Corner Canyon trails attract people from “all over the U.S. and the world.”
Ironically, the email asked for permission for their own race to access Forest Service land.
Future private events in this area are now likely in jeopardy of never happening.
According to the Draper spokesperson, “Earlier this year, the city council requested the permit policy be re-evaluated due to concerns from residents about impacts related to race events — trail closures, congestion, parking, etc. — on top of a huge increase (up to 400%) in trail usage since the advent of the pandemic. A revised policy should be coming up on a city council agenda by early November.”
A presentation of preliminary boundary restrictions was presented at the Oct. 5 city council meeting.
Discussions indicated that all private races — including those for charity — would be banned in Corner Canyon, making Draper City the exclusive organizer of events there for the foreseeable future.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 9 at Draper City Hall.
The study session begins at 5:30 p.m., with the business portion scheduled for 7 p.m.
The first Draper City Corner Canyon Half Marathon saw 114 participants who were not exclusively Draper residents.
The event earned the city $2,791.12 in net profit.
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