Hiking events

The network of cycle and pedestrian paths continues to expand

July 6—The Tahlequah Trails Association celebrated a milestone with its grand opening in May, and officials say there’s still work to be done.

Multi-use walking and mountain biking trails continue to expand on South 550 Road, and TTA Board Chairman Mike Bingham said there are plenty of opportunities for volunteering.

“Our goal originally, and still is, was to complete the beginners trail which is 2.5 miles in total. We have done almost two miles and now we are working on the south loop which is about three quarters of a mile. , and we’re at about 1,000 feet or so, Bingham said.

Board members worked to secure funds through various grants and received donations from local advocates. Some of that came from the Tahlequah Community Foundation, which donated $30,000 in 2020, and one acre was donated by City Administrator Alan Chapman for parking and entry.

“We are still fundraising and waiting to hear about a federal grant administered by the State of Oklahoma,” Bingham said.

If approved, TTA would use these funds to hire a professional trail construction company to build the most advanced trails.

“To hire the trail company, we still have 1.5 miles of intermediate trail that’s flagged and ready to build,” Bingham said.

Beyond that, approximately six remaining miles of trail work have been planned on a concept map.

“It’s planned there, but it’s actually not what they call ‘ground truth’; it’s not completely ready to be built. You have to take that idea, where it has look good on paper and then you have to go out and actually walk and make sure it will work,” he said.

Welling Ridge Trails’ grand opening was on May 21, and TTA board member Dana Boren-Boer said about 50 people showed up for the event.

“There has been traffic on the trails since opening,” Boer said. “We recently hosted a group of 20 Cherokee Nation summer camp students who came to ride the trails and learn about the efforts of the non-profit organization, and we had various local cyclists ride the trails. “

Former Tahlequah Ward 2 Councilman Dower Combs has been involved in trail work for some time, and he thanked Tahlequah Trails for “bringing the community together and sharing the vision that will bring positive change to our region for generations to come”.

Bingham said he expects the three-quarter mile to be completed by the end of the year.

“It’s about getting the number of volunteers. If you can get half a dozen every day of trail construction, then yes, I will by the end of the year. It’s also about ground,” he said.

Volunteers should be properly dressed, with helmets, goggles, gloves and appropriate footwear.

Those interested in helping build trails can keep up to date with the group’s progress by visiting its Facebook page, Tahlequah Trails. Those interested in volunteering can message the group to get on the list.

Children 10 and older are encouraged to help. All participants must sign waivers before work begins.

And after

The next Volunteer Trail Build Day is scheduled for Saturday, July 23, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. To register, visit https://www.tahlequahtrails.org/volunteer.html#/.