A 5-mile bike trail is under construction at John Brown University’s Siloam Springs campus. The Walton Family Foundation and Simmons Foods, two locally based corporations, are partnering to fund the trail, expected to cost approximately $170,000.
Construction started Jan. 27. This new trail will have a soft surface, able to be used by cyclists of all skill levels, stretching along the terrain of Sager Creek as well as over various land elevations on the University campus.
Matt Logan, freshman mechanical engineering major, has biked locally as well as in his hometown in Colorado. “I haven’t had the chance to bike here around campus just because there’s not a lot to do, so I’m excited for the trail.”
Nathan Kuykendall, freshman business management major, recently brought his new mountain bike to campus.
“I bike as a way to exercise and condition for tennis,” said Kuykendall, who has started the season with a record of 4-0 for John Brown’s tennis team.
Having biked in Rogers, Fayetteville and Oklahoma, Kuykendall said he looks forward to the benefits of having a trail so close. “What’ll be great about this trail is that mountain bikers from JBU or Siloam Springs won’t have to drive 45 minutes to… enjoy biking.”
Kuykendall looks forward to the community this trail will build among local bikers and upcoming students.
The new trail is one of several initiatives to develop a broader bicycling community in Northwest Arkansas and specifically in Siloam Springs.
“JBU is always looking for ways to improve our campus to better serve both JBU students and the people of Siloam Springs,” said President Chip Pollard in a press release. “This professionally-built mountain biking trail will be a fantastic new recreational facility for our community. We are deeply grateful for the support of the Walton Family Foundation and the people of Simmons Foods for financing this project.”
The Walton Family Foundation is a local nonprofit organization whose focus is addressing social and environmental issues. Simmons Food is based out of Siloam Springs and is one of the leading vertically integrated poultry processors and the largest private label wet pet food producer in the United States and Canada.
With the new University trail, the Northwest Arkansas region will offer more than 150 miles of soft surface paths and several options for terrain, including the 36-mile Razorback Regional Greenway. Furthermore, the International Mountain Bicycling Association announced in October that it would hold its 2016 World Summit in Northwest Arkansas.
The trail is projected to open to the public in summer 2016.