Arcadia Lake Trails

 

Written by Paul Fairchild in the September 2013 Issue

Bicycle RiderThe serene and peaceful Deep Fork River flows east from northern Oklahoma to Lake Eufala in eastern Oklahoma. On its way, it fills Edmond’s Arcadia Lake, the pride and joy of Edmond’s Parks and Recreation service.

Covering nearly 2,000 acres, Arcadia Lake is a great place for area residents to camp, swim, water ski, hike, ride horses and simply enjoy the great outdoors. Building on the lake’s success as a recreation hub, the city is adding to its recreational offerings with new bike and walking trails, giving locals yet another way to enjoy Lake Arcadia. But this isn’t just a city project. It’s backed and funded by a group of local business and individuals, the Arcadia Lake Trail Coalition.

“My family has always loved walking. Edmond is a delightful community that, in my estimation, lends itself to walking. The importance of physical activity has become more obvious nationwide and its importance is reflected in Edmond’s trail planning,” says Elizabeth Waner, a member of Edmond’s City Council and a key architect of the trails plan. But Waner and her colleagues aren’t just interested in physical fitness—trails for cycling and walking simply make Edmond a more enjoyable place to live.

The Arcadia Lake trail is projected to be completed in 2014. The 18-mile paved trail around the lake will give walkers, joggers and cyclists the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the area while preserving the native habitat and vegetation. Upon completion, the trail will serve the Oklahoma City metro’s need as the longest and widest trail available to recreational users. Varying from 12 to 18 feet wide, it will meet the needs of cyclists, runners and walkers more easily than any other multi-use trail in the metro area. Many trail users feel that existing paths are too narrow to support both foot traffic and cycling. The wider Lake Arcadia trail will accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians with a far lower risk of accidents.

The brainchild of State Representative Lewis Moore and David Tew, COO of Mercy Health Services, the Arcadia Lake Trails Coalition will fund the building of the trails, saving the city and its citizens tax dollars. The city will cover the cost of planning and development of the trails—a small fraction of the anticipated $16 million price tag. “Tax dollars don’t go as far as they used to and these projects are often supplemented with sponsorship, user fees and partnerships with corporations and nonprofit organizations. Any time we can collaborate with another entity, it’s a win-win for all of us,” says Craig Dishman, Director of Edmond’s Parks and Recreation department.

Proposed MapTew, an avid cyclist, is a staunch supporter of Edmond’s trail system. “I’m excited about the trails because of what it means for Edmond,” says Tew. “This trail is another opportunity for people to get outside and get moving. If you’re healthy and active, your quality of life is better, plain and simple.”

“The cooperation between the coalition and the city gives us the chance to maximize opportunities with our trails plan. I hope it becomes a model for other projects down the road. Trails are not always at the top of a community’s funding list, so the leverage from a private group can become very important in seeing projects like trails become realities,” says Waner. More partnerships such as these will provide Edmond with opportunities for more ambitious planning. Local residents will be able to look forward to similar projects in the future—and an increased quality of life as our city continues to grow.         

Some adjustments have been made to the initial trail route and design to reflect stakeholders’ input. To learn more, comment on the project or make a donation, visit arcadialaketrail.com.

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