Fall fishing on Storm Creek Lake.

Arkansas State Park Receives American Trails Legacy Trail Grant

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

The American Trails Legacy Program is funded up to $1.5M per year for 5 years through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and supports partner trail projects that further the Legacy Roads and Trails criteria on National Forest System trails throughout the nine Forest Service Regions. The goal of the program is to support projects that restore, protect, and maintain watersheds in the national forests and grasslands.

In this first year of the program, American Trails received 84 project applications for the Legacy Trails Program, requesting 4.3 million dollars, approximately 3 times as much funding as they can award.

“We are excited to be able to support such excellent projects across the country, which will positively impact watershed health, public access to the outdoors, and overall trail resiliency,” says Cathy Corlett, Trail Fund Director at American Trails.

American Trails announced the winners of our 2023 Legacy Trail Program grants. In the first year of this program, they funded a total of $1.35 million to 33 organizations. Including a project in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, managed by Arkansas State Parks at Mississippi River State Park.

The cabins at Mississippi River State Park.
The cabins at Mississippi River State Park.

The Storm Creek Connector Trail

Arkansas State Parks was awarded $36,289.00 to connect Storm Creek Campground and Storm Creek Day-Use Area via an authorized trail designed by Arkansas State Park (ASP)

Arkansas State Parks (ASP) has undertaken the project to create a new trail connecting Storm Creek Campground and Storm Creek Day-Use Area near Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. The project involves converting an old National Forest Service Road and several unauthorized user-created trails into one authorized, well-designed, and properly signed trail that connects the two areas.

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The goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable recreational experience for guests and the local community while also reducing the environmental impact caused by the unauthorized trails, which have led to erosion along the ridges and damage to the creeks in the area. The trail will be open to both hikers and cyclists.

From February to December 2023, ASP staff will be working on various aspects of the project, including NEPA analysis, trail design, and bridge details. They will coordinate with park staff and various local partners, such as THRIVE, Kiwanis, and Rotary clubs, who may assist in GPS mapping and data collection during the design phase.

Fishing on Storm Creek Lake.
Fishing on Storm Creek Lake.

To build the trail, ASP will coordinate with AmeriCorps to schedule an NCCC team to be at Mississippi River State Park around December 2023 to February 2024. Park staff, the NCCC team, and local partners will build the trail over an estimated one-month period. After the volunteer work is complete, ASP will ensure that any unresolved tasks are taken care of.

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This grant program is administered by American Trails and funded through a cost-share agreement with the United States Forest Service to support trail projects on forests and grasslands managed by the USFS through 2027.

(photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism)

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