Expanding on what already exists and is planned, Mineral Wells and the area could become a mecca for mountain bikers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts that helps attract new families, visitors and commerce.
That is what Mineral Wells Rotary Club members heard and saw today in a presentation from Rhett Warren regarding the new 4.5 miles of Western Heritage Park Trails now open for the public to walk, run or ride. The courses – designed, mapped and marked for youth/beginners, intermediate and experienced trail riders – are nearly complete.
The trails are located at Western Heritage Park, known by many as the former Lion's Park, on far North Oak Avenue. The former city park is under the control and operation of Texas Frontier Trails, which partnered with Warren and his brother, Will, to design and build the trails within much of the park's 50 acres.
Trail markers will help riders stay on course and bring help if needed.
Thanks to dozens of volunteers who worked through the summer, providing an estimated 500 hours, the course was designed well under budget, Rhett said. That will allow for some other improvements such as picnic tables, restrooms and possibly a time-controlled gate at the North Oak Avenue entrance. A non-vehicle entrance to the trails exists at the end of N.W. 4th Avenue.
The trails were designed and built with the expert help of Larry Colvin of the Weatherford Mountain Bike Club and professional trail builder Paul "Shadow" Johns.
The mountain bike trails complement other features in the park including a history walking trail, a covered pavilion and a large, covered performance stage. TFT has hosted a number of events and performances at the park over the past decade.
The Western Heritage Park Trails and TFT Western Heritage Park are located in the 3100 block of North Oak Avenue in far north Mineral Wells. North Oak Avenue splits from U.S. Highway 281 at N.E. 23rd Street (FM Road 3027) at the Tommy’s convenience store. North Oak Avenue then runs parallel to the west of US 281 going north. The park entrance will be on your left near Shattles Road.
To make a donation toward the Western Heritage Park mountain bike trail, send a check or money order to: Texas Frontier Trails, P.O. Box 306, Mineral Wells, TX 76067. Put bike trail in the memo line so that the donation will go toward the project.
Warren has been working on another trail – the Rails to Trails – that run along a former railroad bed from downtown Mineral Wells to northwest Weatherford. Rotary Club of Mineral Wells has partnered with Warren and the Friends of the Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Tailway with donations last year and this year that will total about $10,000 to help with improvements and maintenance. Also, the club intends to adopt a portion of the trail.
Warren said some aspects of the trail's plans are awaiting decisions and guidance in Austin and he said he hopes to receive more information on how to proceed soon.
Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Southside Church of Christ's fellowship hall, with lunch catered by Sadie's Eats. Watch your email and our private Facebook group page for next Wednesday's lunch options as we receive an update on Rotary International's effort, and therefore our effort, to eradicate polio from the face of the Earth.