Contact: Robert Stephens
Arkansas River Trail System Task Force
Closure of the Arkansas River Trail
Little Rock, April 1, 2015: The Arkansas River Trail System Task Force announced today that the popular trail system in Central Arkansas is closed until further notice. The Task Force regrets this decision and understands it will cause considerable inconvenience to residents and visitors to Central Arkansas.
The circumstances that have lead to this decision are numerous
Because of the multiple construction projects that are occurring along the trail, local governments are overwhelmed with the amount of trail detours. Public works and parks departments must install signage for these detours and restripe trail sections that are affected by these construction projects. Their costs have been considerable and they’re crying ‘uncle’ to all the detours”, Task Force spokesman Rob Stephens noted. “The cost to install these signs must be borne by local governments and are not budgeted in the contractor’s bids. North Little Rock Parks department has even tried to reduce costs by mounting detour signs with Velcro. Contractors have installed Bicycle Abatement Devices in their construction zones to dissuade renegade cyclists. Trail users are now in a twilight zone situation.” Stephens encourages trail users to take advantage of the newly established Uber water taxi service on the Arkansas River to access the downtown areas.
Another factor in the decision to close the Arkansas River Trail is the exponential growth in the Canada Geese population. The geese have commenced their spring mating rituals and have started attacking trail users. One person was chased off the trail by a gang of angry geese and was rescued by the North Little Rock’s Parks’ ranger Ian Hope. The geese also create piles of excrement on the trail forcing cyclists to walk their bikes due to the slick trail conditions. When reached for comment, North Little Rock’s professional geese dog, ‘Shep’, could only put his head between his paws in frustration. Shep has been coordinating his geese chasing efforts with Little Rock Parks’ geese dog Jill, “We chase them back and forth across the river”, explained Shep, “they just won’t leave.”
The Arkansas River Trail System Task Force mission is to develop, maintain and promote the Arkansas River Trail and adjoining trails in Central Arkansas. The task force is made up of representatives from the municipalities, counties and agencies that are encompassed by the Arkansas River Trail.