LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — A network of trails, with paved and natural-surfaces, could soon wind their way through the hills at Lake of the Ozarks. At least that's what some members of the Community Foundation of the Lake are envisioning, and the group has formed an exploratory committee to look into the idea.
Stacy Pyrtle, a board member with CFL, anticipates the proposed multi-surface trail system would be similar to the trail system in Bentonville, Ark. That system stretches 34 miles, and the city calls itself the “mountain biking capital of the world.”
“It would be a way to do some economic development around the Lake that isn’t focused primarily on the Lake season of Memorial Day to Labor Day," Pyrtle said. "With our terrain and temperate climate we’re very similar to northwest Arkansas and people can come ride here year-round and see our beautiful Lake."
Like the Bentonville trails, a trail system at the Lake of the Ozarks would include hard-surface trails for running, hiking and biking and soft-surface trails that explore local state parks for mountain biking and hiking.
"In Bentonville, [the trails] back right up to a lot of residential areas and it’s used by the whole community. It’s amazing how much money they’ve generated off the trails, plus the local citizenry use the trails all the time," Pyrtle said.
Since the project is in early stages, an exact location for these trails hasn’t been chosen yet. But a CFL member has spoken with the YMCA and state parks. A professional trail building company will be consulted on the viability of these locations as well as geological and ecological studies.
Another anticipated feature of the trails would be their connection to local businesses, which would give hikers and bikers easier access and boost economic development.
"We already have the perfect setup here to connect businesses to a trail system. They built a restaurant bar in Bentonville and they’re renting it out but here we’d easily connect it to bars and businesses that are already established."
At this point, CFL plans on only using private donations and grants to complete the trails. Plenty is still unknown, but Pyrtle hopes that several miles of trail could be completed over the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, major plans to connect the Lake area with Kansas City via a trail through Eldon that would link to the Katy Trail continue to move forward. Read more below...