Cyclists, hikers take note: New trailhead facility going up at Arkansas City | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cyclists, hikers take note: New trailhead facility going up at Arkansas City

Posted By on Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 4:55 PM

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The Delta Heritage Trail, which when complete will be an 84.5-mile pathway for pedestrians and cyclists along former railroad lines in East Arkansas, moves into a new phase tomorrow as construction begins on the southernmost trailhead facility at Arkansas City.

The trail, of compacted crushed rock, is on former Union Pacific right-of-way from Lexa (six miles west of Helena) to Rohwer and then the Mississippi River levee to Arkansas City. Arkansas State Parks is developing the trail in phases, and has completed 35 miles of the corridor: 20.6 miles on "rail-trail" from Helena Junction to Elaine and 14.4 shared-use roadway from Rohwer to Arkansas City.

The trailhead building at Arkansas City is being designed to resemble a train depot and will include a bathhouse, pavilion and office. There will be information about historic Arkansas City and two sites for tent camping.

The Barton Visitor Center U.S. 49, at the northernmost point of the trail, offers trail maps, rest rooms, a picnic area and a gift shop. There are five sites for tent camping.

In a news release from Parks, Robert Moore, a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission and a resident and booster No. 1 of Arkansas City, said the trailhead building "is exciting for a little city of 366 people." He said the town "is tremendously rich in history. It has seven buildings on the national register of historic places. It is surrounded by 10,000 public wildlife acres. It’s the only major public access to the Mississippi River in the state of Arkansas. People are going to go, my goodness, something’s really happening down here. So it’s a cool deal.”

There are five trailheads: the Helena Junction near Lexa, Walnut Corner at the U.S. Highway 49 overpass, Lick Creek on state Hwy. 85 south of Barton), Lake View and Elaine.

Union Pacific Corp. donated its 73-mile right-of-way, where Missouri-Pacific's Delta Eagle passenger trail once ran, to the state in 1992, the Parks news release said; it was called "The Route of the Eagles."

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