Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Floodplains and Utility Right-of-ways - Perfect For Trails

Floodplains and utility right-of-ways (think sewer, power, and gas lines) are perfect places to put trails.  Many types of development are prohibited in floodways and floodplains, so why not use them as park land and greenspace and put in some trails?  Because streams run into other streams, trails along floodplains would naturally form a branching trail network.  This idea is already slowly being put into practice in both Little Rock and Fayetteville.  Many of these towns' longest trails run along creeks.  See the multiple trails along Rock Creek and Coleman Creek in Little Rock and along Scull Creek, Mud Creek, Clabber Creek, and Hamestring Creek in Fayetteville.

Trails along utility right-of-ways, or "Utilitrails", make great sense as well.  Utility companies have to pay to regularly clear vegetation along their right-of-ways, putting in a paved or crushed gravel trail would decrease the amount of maintenance required along these routes and open up potential opportunities to split maintenance costs and work with city governments or trail-related volunteer organizations.  Some of the trails at Hindman Park in Little Rock are great examples of Utilitrails as they were built and maintained in a partnership between the local wastewater utility and MBNA neighborhood association.  The trails at Conner Park in Little Rock are connected to the trail in River Mountain Park by a power line.

Chenal Conner Park Little Rock Arkansas Right of way
Natural Location For A Trail - Power Line in West Little Rock With Nice View

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