Craighead Forest Park is busy with people

Walking trail phase nearing completion
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The walking and bike trail out at Craighead Forest Park is continuing to grow.

Director of Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Wixson Huffstetler said phase two of the trail will soon be complete.

"Things are going great," Huffstetler said. "We're almost done. The weather has been excellent for the contractors to do this phase. We're very excited. They've done a great job. We just like a little bit left on the bridge and just a few minor things like painting and punch lists and then we'll be done. The majority of it will be done before the weather hits."

Other than some signage and painting Huffstetler said phase two should be complete by Thanksgiving.

"The walking trail will be almost three miles," Huffstetler said. "Every quarter of a mile are workout stations. There are four pieces of work out equipment at each station."

Huffstetler said the trail project has had a great response despite the fact that there are multiple phases under construction.

"It's really been a hit so far," Huffstetler said. "I've gotten a lot of emails and a lot of phone calls from local people. Trainers are bringing their clients out here and using this. And that was the whole point of this. For people to get outside and exercise, whether it's walk, run or bike."

He said you can tell how much people like it by the increase in people coming to the park.

"It's been a huge hit," Huffstetler said. "The foot traffic has at least doubled out here, if not tripled. That is a great sign that people are using the trail and they're loving it. It's just so safe. I've had so many families contact me and say how excited they are about it because they don't have to walk against traffic or worry about someone running over their kid from behind. They feel really safe. So, it's been a successful project."

Huffstetler said the final two phases of the walking and bike trail project will be next year.

"There are two phases that will be in next year's budget," Huffstetler said. "One will be phase three. That will be a trail coming out of the back entrance of this park and will go down to Craighead Forest Road and then will turn right or go east down to Harrisburg Road. And then we'll have the road phase. Behind the dam here at the lake we're going to have to move the road back away from the dam. So, the existing road will become trail and we'll have a new road that will come all the way back to the entrance and then a whole new entrance will be added to the front of Craighead Forest. We'll actually have a roundabout instead of it coming to a 'T."

And that's not all!

They are also building a trailhead for mountain bikers.

It will contain a small pavilion with a wash bay for bikes in the back and a water bottle refill station.

"The water bottle refill station is winter proof," Huffstetler said. "Bike racks will be stationed at the location along with some picnic tables. There will also be a map center of all the trails. We have about seventeen miles of mountain bike trails in this park."

Huffstetler said the design of phase three of the walking and bike trail will begin in January.

He hopes to start the road phase of the project by the end of February or first of March.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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