Today is National Trails Day, something residents of the master-planned community of Summerlin know a lot about.
In fact, the community’s extensive, 150-mile long trail system consistently ranks in resident surveys as the most popular and beloved outdoor amenity, earning The Howard Hughes Corp., Summerlin’s developer, with the American Trails Developer Award in 2008 from American Trails, a national nonprofit dedicated to trail interests. The award recognizes developers who establish quality, well-designed, multiuse trails systems within private developments and is the only award of its kind in the nation.
In 2015, Summerlin received top national honors in the form of a gold award for Best Landscape Design from the National Association of Homebuilders — yet another confirmation of the enduring appeal of trails and their important role in the community’s landscape.
According to Julie Cleaver, senior vice president of planning and design for Summerlin, trails are a Summerlin hallmark from both an aesthetic and lifestyle perspective.
“From the beginning, trails were planned as a way to keep the community and its residents connected,” Cleaver said.
“Popular with walkers, runners and strollers, the community’s trail system is easily the most heavily used amenity because it appeals to residents of all ages and interests. And given the prominence of trails in the Summerlin landscape, they have become synonymous with the community.”
Summerlin’s trail system not only promotes healthy, outdoor activity like walking, running, cycling and strolling, it serves to better link the community and encourage social interaction. The trail system physically links villages, neighborhoods, parks and shopping centers — providing residents with direct access to their community. Bumping into neighbors and friends along the Summerlin Trail is an everyday occurrence for users.
The Summerlin Trail System is comprised of four kinds of trails. Landscaped and lighted street-side trails ideal for walking, jogging and strolling are the backbone of the system and are a community hallmark. Village trails are often located in natural arroyos and man-made open spaces and are designed to provide respite from noise and traffic for long-distance runners.
Regional trails are part of the proposed valleywide trail system for multiple, nonmotorized uses. They provide a link to Bureau of Land Management land in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and are constructed as public/private partnerships by Clark County and the city of Las Vegas in cooperation with The Howard Hughes Corp.
Finally, natural trails exist within undeveloped areas of Summerlin and will eventually connect to more than 2,000 miles of planned regional trails throughout the valley. They are intended for use by outdoor and hiking enthusiasts.
The Summerlin Trail System is a model of efficient planning, design and public and private partnership, Cleaver said.
“It helps to define the community’s active lifestyle evident in the thousands of residents who use it every day,” she said.