Unsung Heroes
David Olsen
by Laura Haley
contributing writer
Feb 21, 2013 | 998 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s hard to miss the influence that David Olsen has had on Moab. From the musical instruments at Rotary Park, to the new “Welcome to Moab” signs at both ends of town, to the Mill Creek Parkway, Olsen, the Moab City Director of Community Development, has left his mark on the community.

However, Olsen’s contributions to town don’t end when he leaves the office.

“I’m infatuated with trails,” Olsen, an avid cyclist, said. “I love riding, but I like to think about trail connections.”

As the long standing vice chairman of the Trail Mix Committee, Olsen has tapped into that passion to help build and plan new bike trails throughout the area.

According to Sandy Freethey, co-chairwoman of Trail Mix, Olsen has helped the committee with several trails including the Pipedream Trail, the Moab Brand trails, and the new Prospector Trail below the Sunset Grill. He’s also highly involved with the Lions Park redesign and transit hub project currently under construction at the north end of town.

Olsen said much of his work on the trails is done through his job with the city, but he tries to get out and put in volunteer work on the trails whenever he has the chance.

“There’s a place on Pipedream that’s named, on the map, Family Vacation,” he said. “It’s Olsen Family Vacation. It’s a joke that I took my family there for their vacation.”

In an effort to set a good example, Olsen routinely rides his bike to work. “I save about a dollar a day,” he said, pointing out that the monetary benefit is only one of the reasons he pedals to work.

Despite the amount of time he dedicates to bike related activities, Olsen has also volunteered in many other arenas during the last few years.

“David is always working as a coach with the after-school kids,” Freethey said. “Especially girls basketball.”

Olsen has spent many years as a coach with Moab City Recreation programs. He is currently coaching the seventh-grade girls’ basketball team.

“My kids are there,” he said. “It helps me to be closer to them.”

The Boy Scouts have also been on the receiving end of Olsen’s volunteer efforts.

“I’ve been involved with the Boy Scouts since being one myself,” he said. He was a Scout Master in college, and he is currently an Adventure Scout Leader, working with older Scouts. “I’ve been doing that for two years,” Olsen said.

Through his job at the city, Olsen also helps Scouts who are pursuing Eagle Scout rank find projects to help them fulfill the requirements. In the past, Scouts have done work on the BMX track at Anonymous Park as well as making improvements at Rotary Park.

Olsen also spent seven years as a member of the Grand County Board of Education. “It was a great honor to be a school board member,” he said.

He also spent over five years as a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “That takes a lot of time,” he said, explaining that he was responsible for helping transients, planning funerals, and finding people to speak in the church.

Moab has changed a great deal since Olsen moved to town in 1990, and he says he is proud to have played a part in many of those changes.

“It’s been really neat,” Olsen said.

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