Plans for a bike trail to be developed by the Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission are making tracks.
A preliminary design, developed by Progressive Trail Design, was submitted to the commission.
“This is a preliminary report for Mountain Bike/Hiking trails at the Ward Lake property with a map and description,” AP Chair Rick Chrisman said. “This is only 10% of their work toward a Master Trail Plan. The Commission will have considerable input as future plans and meetings take place.”
Chrisman said he is hopeful a partnership with Mena Open Trail Alliance (MOTA) can be developed.
“MOTA has worked for years maintaining and developing trails in our area,” Chrisman said.
According to the Progressive Trail Design report, “the Ward Lake property is an excellent amenity for trails development and possible connection to the city center. It was also mentioned that the lower area below the dam may be improved for camping. Currently there is a gun range on property and that will need to be relocated for trail user safety on the southwest end of the property.
“The forest condition is healthy, and the terrain is excellent for trails development. PTD walked the entire property 3 times to gain a holistic view & to ground truth areas of potential concern/points of interest. In general, it was concluded that the Ward Lake Basin would not be the best location for trails so our designs do not utilize that zone. Furthermore, much of the design is a bike-optimized contour-flow trail, as it is the most appropriate for the site and will be used by a wider demographic of users.”
The Progressive Trail Design philosophy behind the design is to create unique experiences by having several zones. The system can be experienced as a whole or as smaller loops.
There is a main loop (green trail) that will be a more multi-use experience and circumnavigates the lake basin with the north dam being a nice point of interest.
The west bank has room for two trails above the main loop.
The blue trail on the map sits midway up the western slope acting as a connector to the yellow trail that will have much more elevation change.
Any opportunity on sections with sustained descent will have flow elements and features to enhance the experience while keeping this trail dual direction.
The yellow trail also connects to the camp area below the dam.
The pink trail navigates the eastern slopes above the northern dam climbs up the natural shelves into a very pretty section of forest full of large boulders and old growth trees. It connects the main lake loop near the northern dam, joins to cross a wet weather drain and then rejoins the lake loop trail close to the trailhead on the eastern side of Ward Lake Dam.
The last trail is the orange in color and connects the trailhead and the campground area below the dam.
“This field report represents 10% of our design,” the report states. “We are still working on many aspects and revising our ideas. The connection to Earthquake Ridge Trail and other considerations utilizing the MOTA design are in the works as well.“