Minooka gets grant to inspect trails

Published 1:26 am Sunday, March 29, 2009

The all-terrain vehicle trail system at Minooka Park has been open for more than a year, and now it is getting ready for a real road test.

A $25,000 grant awarded by Gov. Bob Riley will enable the Cheaha Trail Riders Association to determine how well the 10-mile, natural-surface trail system is holding up to traffic from four-wheelers and other small off-road vehicles. The study will assess how to best maintain the trails at the park, which is owned by the Chilton County Commission.

“The park staff will aid the Cheaha Trail Riders as needed as far as gathering data out on the trail system,” Park Manager Gerald Arrington said.

The 18-month study will determine the impact of continuous vehicle use on the terrain and under various weather conditions. Results will be used to develop and maintain a more durable trail system with minimum erosion and watershed damage. The association is working with an engineering division of the U.S. Forest Service and other interested groups on the project.

“This will give [the Riders] more ideas about ways to construct trail systems in an environmentally-friendly way,” Arrington said.

Riley notified Glenn Myers, president of the Cheaha Trail Riders Association, that the grant had been approved.

The grant is being administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. It was awarded from funds made available to the state from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program.

“Minooka Park is helping to meet the needs of a popular and growing sport in Alabama and the Southeast,” Riley said. “The Cheaha Trail Riders Association played a pivotal role in creating this park. The association’s interest and expertise helps ensure that Minooka Park continues to provide safe recreation for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.”