Progress Made On Fort Smith Trails

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Runners and bikers may soon have more trails to enjoy, but the vision of someday having a connected 34 mile trail system around Fort Smith has some hurdles to overcome.

The Greg Smith River Trail overlooks the Arkansas River and another mile is now being added to the file mile running, walking and biking trail.

Drew Linder, the chairman of the Fort Smith trails and greenway committee said the extension will connect Riverfront Park and Fort Smith Park.

"That's gonna be significant because it's gonna extend the Greg Smith River Trail to 6.2 miles," Linder said.

On the opposite side of town, a 6-and-a-half mile trail system is in the works at Chaffee Crossing. The project is projected to cost $3.5 million dollars, and a $500,000 grant was just given from the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The rest of the bill will be split between the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority and the City of Fort Smith.

The trails and greenway committee is also considering a loop around the Fort Smith landfill that will stretch four miles, but they have run into some challenges. They brought in an engineer to talk about the possibility of a trail that follows Maybranch Creek.

"It sounds like they're saying it could be done in two phases," Linder said. "Well there's an existing little section of that trail that goes between Free Ferry and Park Ave. that connects there by the library."

He said the ultimate goal is to have 34.2 miles of a connected trail system throughout Fort Smith.

The extension of the Greg Smith River Trail should be completed by January.