HOT SPRINGS -- International Mountain Bicycling Association Trail Solutions will begin construction today on the 0.6-mile bike trail that will traverse Hot Springs National Park, connecting Pullman Avenue to an existing Northwoods Trail, the city's tourism agency has announced.
The project is being funded through a $104,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation at the recommendation of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton, the tourism agency said in a news release.
"National park properties typically do not allow bike traffic, and so this is pretty special in that we'll be one of only 48 National Park System-owned properties that allow bikes within their boundaries," Northwoods Trail coordinator Traci Berry said Wednesday.
The news release said just 47 of 419 National Park Service-owned properties currently allow mountain biking on select dirt trails within their boundaries. The Pullman Avenue Connector will be accessible by bike or foot traffic only.
Berry noted that all other Hot Springs National Park trails will remain closed to bike traffic.
"[Hot Springs National Park's] mission, just like ours, is to create more opportunity for people to get outside and give them more access to outdoor recreation activities and that falls in line with the city's mission ... creating a better quality of life for its residents, and even a much better experience for visitors who are coming to our area," she said.
The purpose of connecting the Northwoods Trail to Pullman Avenue, Berry said, is to increase access to the trails.
"Having Pullman connect to the Northwoods gives more people more access to the trails," she said. "It will allow for a safer and much more user-friendly route from downtown and surrounding communities to the trail system."
"This connector trail will establish a new, safer and convenient way for residents and visitors to gain access to this marvelous resource for Hot Springs," Steve Arrison, the tourism agency's chief executive officer, said in the news release.
The news release said existing access to the trails is via a trailhead at the Hot Springs Lakeside Waterworks facility and two trailheads in the Cedar Glades Park area in the neighboring Garland County property.
State Desk on 02/10/2020