The National Park Service is providing consultants to help create eight local parks and other recreation and conservation areas in the South, including the Creekline Trails of Opelika project that kicked off this year.
Park Service consultants will help create a master plan for Creekline Trails of Opelika, a system of nature trails and shared-use paths that will connect green-spaces with major roads and bike lanes citywide.
Rocky and Shealy Langley, who live in Opelika’s Pepperell Mill Village, have been the primary local campaigners for the Creekline trail.
“I grew up here in Opelika and did not have an awareness of our creek system growing up. I didn’t even know I was driving over them. But we started to seek them out as places for our dog to play,” Shealy told the Opelika-Auburn News in May.
“The more we saw, the more we realized, ‘Man, these are beautiful, and people need to see these. They need to enjoy them. How can we make that possible? How can we get access to them?’” she said. “And that’s kind of how the idea was born.”
The proposed multiuse paths along Opelika’s streams and roadways could be used by mountain bikers and other cyclists, runners and walkers, and they would be ADA accessible.
Envision Opelika agreed to take the project under its wing and is holding the $15,600 in donations raised so far.
The Langleys also have been working with city officials.
There is no timeline yet, but the Langleys have said they hope the first phase will be a 2.7-mile path along the Pepperell Branch, starting at the Cunningham Drive area and going up to Waverly Parkway.
In a second Alabama project, Park Service employees will help Baldwin County put on multi-city meetings about its planned cross-county rails-to-trails project.
The park service also is providing similar help to projects in Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida, according to Deirdre Hewitt, program manager for the park service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.
Residents can keep up with project developments by following the Creekline Trails of Opelika on Facebook.