Clark County has been awarded a $65,000 federal grant by the Arkansas State Highway Commission to help fund the first phase of a hiking and mountain bike recreational trail on the south side of DeGray Lake.

The trail will be constructed on land owned by the Corps of Engineers. The first planned phase is about 10 miles of natural surface hike and mountain bike trails, two to four feet in width.

Future plans call for a 10-mile extension of the system and development of a half-mile interpretive trail and a bike skills park.

Construction on the project, which has a total estimated cost of $85,000, is expected to begin later this year.

Local match for the project will include donated materials, equipment and labor from Clark County.

Clark County Judge Ron Daniell stated that a number of residents have asked for a facility of this type to promote wellness and healthy living. We are pleased to have participated in the grant application and feel fortunate that the County can help.

The County’s assistance will include the development of a fifteen vehicle parking area and the County will place the trash containers at the trail head on the regular County pick up route according to Judge Daniell. This is truly a community project with the local Boy Scout troops, local bicycle user groups and other interested individuals and organizations all donating labor to make the trail a reality, Daniell noted.

Construction of the trail will help address needs identified in the Clark County Strategic Plan, a public-private, comprehensive community development initiative unveiled in October 2007 that was developed by more than 500 Clark County residents during an 18-month planning process.

The Tourism Subcommittee, Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Strategic Plan Finance Committee all identified development of convenient and diverse trail-based recreation facilities as a means to improve local and regional recreation opportunities, said Dr. Wesley Kluck, Co-Chair of the Clark County Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Vice President for Institutional Advancement and University Physician at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.

This trail will be located on Sky Line Drive across from the Iron Mountain Marina entry, just 5 miles from Interstate 30 at Caddo Valley, and only 25 miles from Hot Springs, Kluck noted. This will provide for a great number of local users and serve as an attraction to promote establishment of new business and commerce in Clark County.

More information on the Clark County Strategic Plan is available at www.clarkcountyplan.org