Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Along The Trail:

Sometimes when I feel like I'm out of subject matter for the blog,
 I just go for a ride and try to open my eyes to things that are commonplace at a glance, but that are interesting, at least to me, upon a second look.

Sunday saw a good number of folks out on the BDB.
The  barriers were down to the bypass trail that was used during the construction of the BDB west ramp. I decided to check it out. It is rapidly being reclaimed by nature as grass grows into the cracks and potholes, mud washes across it, and water finds its course.
Dog Pack
The River Trail and the BDB in particular seem to attract many special interest activity groups. I came upon a gathering of dogs consisting mostly of hounds and German shepherds at the pavilion near the NLR foot of the BDB. They were participating in search and rescue training. This shepherd's expectant look said that he felt like he was not receiving quite enough attention. I know my dogs!
Amateur Radio operators. With antennae strung along the ground and up a sycamore, they were chatting with some counterparts in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
These amateur radio operators were set up along the river near the NLR soccer fields, and were visiting with passers by as they spoke to other ham radio operators in distant locations. Coincidentally, friend had recently professed an interest in amateur radio, and I was curious as to how it fit into the Internet driven world, though I remembered that after the earthquake disaster in Haiti that ham radios were the only viable means of communication in some areas. These guys reported that interest was high, some coming from end-time survivalist types who are preparing for the shit to hit the big fan, but mostly just curious folks who enjoy the wonder of tech toys as much as the rest of us. After visiting with people from all over the world, sometimes not knowing where those people are, they can go to the Internet and enter the call letters into a registry to see who they've been talking to. New technology doesn't always replace the old; sometimes it just adds another facet to the experience.
Barge traffic through the lock beneath the BDB is often interesting. I'm curious about this load of what appears to be coal heading downriver. Where did it come from and where is it going? Almost all western coal travels by rail to Arkansas.
I rode out the trail spur from the top of the Fort Roots climb on Sunday. The view is great and this dead end will soon be joined with the paved trails of Emerald Park.
North Little Rock could have done a better job of informing the public of plans to join paved trails in Emerald Park to the trail section to the east. The folks of Save of Emerald Park and Big Rock Quarry were justifiably concerned and mountain bikers expressed their displeasure at the loss of trail. My understanding is that the dirt track will be restored so that mountain bikers and road cyclists alike will be able to enjoy the vista from the rime of the quarry.
This structure will support a bicycle work station similar to the one provided by CARVE at the NLR BDB pavilion. The facility will serve as a memorial to Marilyn Fulper, a local cyclist who was killed while riding as a driver ran a red light on Cantrell Road. 3
UPDATED: I was informed via comment that this station is being installed by the county and funded by proceeds of the Wampoo Roadeo . Shout out to the Mellow Velos for their part in the event and the work station placement.
I am easily entertained and the River Trail is home to what is very much a community- an interesting community filled with active folks with a wide range of interests, set alongside and adjacent to major transportation routes, industrial areas, neighborhoods, and urban parkland.  A place where you're likely to have views of barge traffic, the state Capitol, a soccer tournament, and a mix of wildlife all from the same spot at the same time.
NLR Levy Spur Update: Media Release From the Mayor's Office

Construction of Bike/Pedestrian Recreational Trail Begins

On the Levy Spur Trail

October 12, 2012  (North Little Rock)- Paving began this week in North Little Rock on the Levy Spur Trail, a new bike/pedestrian recreational trail which starts in Levy under the  1-40 Overpass and runs along the old railroad track line to Camp Robinson up to 52nd St.

“Sections of the trail will be closed as needed for construction, with an anticipated four month construction schedule. The trail goes further but the paving project stops at 52nd Street,” according to City Engineer Mike Smith.

The spur property was established to support WWI Camp Pike. According to Robert Voyles, City Planning Director, “It was last used about 16 years ago. The City obtained the property using our Local Urbanized Attributed (LUZA) funds with a generous contribution from the Union Pacific Rail Road.”

 The first phase of development is between 33rd and 52nd. Another grant application through the AHTD Recreational Trail program has been submitted to obtain additional funding. The spur is 4 miles long.

A community walking tour and discussion was held on April 19, 2012, and residents weighed in on their vision for the trail. One resident believed that “houses will definitely go up in value,” while another expressed optimism that the trail will “draw visitors to area businesses.”

A bike/pedestrian trail near homes will also support community health, says North Little Rock Fit 2 Live Coordinator, Bernadette Gunn Rhodes. “Residents have already started using the trail, and one neighbor let us know that she had lost over 50 pounds from the trail use alone, logging dozens of miles on the trail with her German Shepherd.”



Anonymous said...

Where along the river trail is the memorial Marilyn Fulper bike station photo? I didn't understand, thanks and enjoyed the blog post.

JBar said...

I'm sorry for not making that more clear. It is near the restrooms where the River Trail hits the road at Two Rivers Park. Another is planned for the Clinton Library area.

Anonymous said...

The Marilyn Fulper Memorial bike fixit station is being installed by the Pulaski County General Services folks. Funding is provided from proceeds from the Wampoo Roadeo Metric Century ride.

JBar said...

Thanks go out to the Mellow Velo ride group for organizing that fund raiser!

Anonymous said...

Agreed and thanks to JBar for adding Awareness

Pat Goss said...

I grew up a block from the railroad track, and Bill Burnett and I walked the track from 52nd Street to 47th Street on our way to Ridgeroad Junior high almost every day from Sept 1960 to May 1963. I ride by my old house from time to time. Now I will have a safe way to get from 52nd Street to downtown Levy.