In 2018, Legacy Initiatives was one of three organizations nationwide to receive the inaugural Trail Accelerator Grant (TAG) through the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). This was a matching grant made possible by local businesses and private donors.
The grant’s purpose was to help design and accelerate the process of trail building. The initial phase of the design process has taken place and Legacy is now applying for grants to help fund the trail building, which can be very expensive.
Dr. Jason Lofton, who has been the lead on this project for Legacy Initiatives, has been in talks with IMBA representatives to bring an exciting opportunity for local residents.
“In efforts to speed up the trail building process, we are going to host a mini Trail Building School Jan. 23-25,” Lofton said. “This will involve a three-four hour classroom session with two days in the field at the lake actually breaking ground on the proposed trail. Those involved in the Trail Building School will serve as team leads on the future trail project.”
Legacy Initiatives is seeking area residents who are interested in being a part of this exciting opportunity and laying the foundation for a vast variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in the local area.
The plan is for there to be multi-use trails designed specifically for mountain biking but which can also be enjoyed by walkers, runners and hikers. The vision is to have trails surrounding the entire lake connecting all the campgrounds. This will create a vast recreation opportunity for local residents as well as a new tourism destination for mountain bikers. The popularity of cycling has grown significantly over the past decade with the cycling industry contributing approximately $6.2 billion to the US economy. There are an estimated 47.5 billion cyclists in the US and that number is growing every year.
Lofton hopes the trails will encourage local residents to get out and enjoy our vast natural resources and that over time we can grow into a cycling community.
“I want to see our part of the state get healthier and one way to do this is through cycling,” he said.
With De Queen’s proximity to the Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolitican area and Hochatown, Lofton believes there is a place for cycling tourism here in Southwest Arkansas.
“Arkansas is quickly becoming a cycling tourism state thanks to what the Walton Foundation is doing in Northwest Arkansas,” he said. “Our vision with Legacy Initiatives is to help improve the lives of the people in Sevier County and Southwest Arkansas. We believe by helping be a catalyst for outdoor recreation through these trails this can help stimulate our local economy, overall health and quality of life in our area.”
If you are interested in being a part of the Trail Building School, contact Jason Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his office at 870-642-4000.