Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Post Flood River Trail Conditions- Revised

This update from NLR Parks Wednesday evening. Though I think most of the trail will be rideable at 17.1 foot stage, this is "the word":
WEEKEND PARK and TRAIL FORECAST - Progress has been made with cleanup efforts around the Burns Park dog park and soccer complex, and along the Arkansas River Trail. However, the river level is back on the rise and is expected (as of 2:00 pm today) to crest at 17.1 feet Friday night and into Saturday morning and remain near that level throughout the weekend. Therefore, some of the same areas may and will flood again and we will have some closings continuing and lasting through the holiday weekend:
- Burns Park Soccer Complex and fields, Dog Park, and Victory Lake areas will be closed to all users;
- Tournament Drive will remain closed to all users between Championship Drive and Arlene Laman Drive allowing no access to Victory Lake, dog park, and the soccer complex.
- Arkansas River Trail will be closed to all users between Burns Park and the Big Dam Bridge;
- Arkansas River Trail - east of Riverview Skate Park will remain closed;
- Isabella Jo Trail - southern end will remain closed;
- North Shore Trail - southern end will be closed;
- Pfeifer Loop will remain closed.
Some areas and their impact from flooding through the weekend:
- Burns Park Victory Lake boat launch will remain underwater;
- Burns Park Soccer Complex - moats around soccer fields
- Burns Park Dog Park - underwater;
- Arkansas River Trail - by Burns Park Victory Lake will remain underwater;
- Arkansas River Trail - immediately west of the western end of Burns Park underwater;
- Arkansas River Trail - east of Riverview Skate;
- The pavilion at Cooks Landing and the base of the Big Dam Bridge will be underwater.

Things were getting back to near-normal on the North Little Rock side of the Arkansas River Trail before more rain fell overnight and into Wednesday morning. With the exception of the S-turn bridge just east of the Pfeifer Loop, the trail was dry and rideable on Tuesday night. A few areas in Burns Park and along Cunningham Lake that were submerged are still dirty but city crews have been busy cleaning off the worst of the silt and muck.
The situation is dynamic and subject to change by the hour, as the river is forecast to rise again, though not to last weeks levels.
The Arkansas River peaked last week at around 21'. Current information as of lunch time Wednesday 5/20 predicts a rise to 17.1 feet by Saturday.

A group of riders approach as a city worker sweeps the dog park lot in Burns Park Tuesday night.

In spite of the closed gates and signs to the contrary, the trails were open to riders. That's not an official statement but the large numbers of riders who were crossing paths with busy park employees was a clue that it's Ok. I think they mostly want to keep auto traffic out for the safety and efficiency of the crews doing cleanup.Please be respectful of the fact that these guys are on the job.
Ian and Shep doing their part.

I ran across ranger Ian Hope and goose dog Shep as they employed a blower-equipped ATV to clean silt from the Victory Lake parking lot. Shep was alert and keeping a wary eye out for geese or aggressive squirrels.

I'll provide updates as my schedule allows, but I think that cyclists will be able to ride the length of the NLR trail over the weekend, assuming no more heavy rains upstream. Some detours to higher portions of the trail may be required, and some park roads and parking areas may still be closed.
The Little Rock trail sections and Two Rivers Park trails are open other than the ongoing construction detours downtown.
Go ride your bike.

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