Growing the Boyle Park Trails
Boyle Park is a much older park than many local residents realize. Built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park was considered outside of Little Rock. A distant oasis offering gathering places, escape from the city and trails. Rock Creek cuts the park in two and trails still give visitors a little recreation. A bridge and pavilions are some of the last nods to the depression era workers who built this park.
The park is still an oasis but now instead of being on the outskirts it's in the center of Mid-Town Little Rock. Still, a beautiful place to gather as a group or seek to rejuvenate through personal trail use.
Central Arkansas Trail Alliance hosted the 2014 Take A Kid Mountain Biking day on these beginner to intermediate trails. The Arkansas Super-Prestige Cyclocross Series holds a race here every year and hundreds of mountain bikers have used these trails for fun and training. CATA has done trail reroutes on the East Section of the trail including a bridge building.
CATA had toyed with the idea of exploring an unused section in the West section of the park last Winter but ran out of time. This year, board members did some exploring and laid out 3/4 miles of new trail to connect to much of the current trail in the park. The design hoped to create some long, flowing sections with some short climbs.
While exploring, they found an old built in grill and made it a focal point of the trail. Next they scheduled a trail work day at the park, inviting all those interested and Little Rock Parks and Recreation staff. On January 31, 2016 about 21 people showed up at 9 am and throughout the morning at least 10 more people showed up. They were all ready to work.
We divided into two teams, starting at each end of the trail and working toward each other. Backpack blowers, rakes and loppers were the tools of the day. Whenever you start on trail work with a large group of people who's capabilities are unknown, as a leader, there is a fear that a lot of mistakes will be made and progress will be slow. Luckily, this is usually not true. Once the teams got started and settled into their jobs, they made short work of it. They moved through the trails with easy, raking, filling holes, lopping limbs and working the trail bed.
Once the two teams met up some more finishing work was done as volunteers took turns enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on the historic grill. After lunch, volunteers began cleaning up while a few folks took to chainsaws to clear the few trees that had unknowingly fallen on our new trail years before we stepped into those woods.
In all, it was a great show of teamwork, what a handful of dedicated people can do in a few hours. Today we added almost a mile of new trail to the inventory of great trail in Central Arkansas. There will be more work days as we dial in the trail. We'll have other opportunities to build and maintain trails.
Thanks again to all the volunteers for taking part in the creation of this beautiful piece of trail.