Visitors of the Arkansas River Trail System will soon see wayfinding signs marking the trail and nearby attractions in Little Rock, North Little Rock, and parts of Pulaski County.
Earlier this year, the Arkansas River Trail Task Force received a $25,000 grant from the National Park Service for the Challenge Cost Share Program that supports collaborative and mutually beneficial partnership projects. The grant is being administered through Metroplan.
"The purpose of the signs are to raise awareness about the Arkansas River Trail and its location, direct and inform trail users about the distance to other key destinations along the route, and to educate visitors about proper trail usage, said Judy Watts, Public Outreach Coordinator for Metroplan.
Partnering together on the grant are Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pulaski County, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and Bicycle Advocates for Central Arkansas (BACA) who agreed to match the grant with funds and in-kind donations.
Watts said a total of 122 signs will be installed along the Arkansas River Trail by the end of August including identifier signs, directional signs, trail access, bike routes, and trail etiquette. Trail user ethics cards have also been produced to remind visitors about safety, courtesy for other visitors, and other appropriate behavior when on the trail. Additional signs will be installed in the years to come.
"We are pleased to announce the initial installation of new Arkansas River Trail signs to allow frequent trail users and especially first-time visitors an easier experience navigating the trail and nearby attractions. The Arkansas River Trail System has been recognized as a premiere destination for running, walking, and biking, and our hope is to continually improve the ART in the years to come," explained Metroplan Executive Director, Jim McKenzie.
The Arkansas River Trail System began as a 14-mile loop between Little Rock and North Little Rock, transecting and connecting the riverfront parks of both cities. It has become the catalyst for the development of bicycling, walking, and running trails in the entire metropolitan area, traveling west on both sides of the Arkansas River to Pinnacle Mountain State Park over the Two Rivers Park Bridge.
Led by the Arkansas River Trail Task Force and coordinated by Metroplan, a June 1, 2012 "Memorandum of Understanding" established the Arkansas River Trail System to be extended 88 miles across multiple cities and counties. The signatories to that MOU are the cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, Mayflower, Conway and Bigelow, Pulaski County, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, and the US Army Corps of Engineers,