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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Walkers carefully step down a somewhat steep rock section of trail alongside Little Sugar Creek during last week's preview hike, which highlighted about a one-and-a-half mile section of the 11 Under trails. The trails are currently closed.

Bella Vistans got their first official look at the in-progress 11 Under trails last Friday evening.

Erin Rushing, executive director of Northwest Arkansas Trailblazers, said the one-and-a-half mile stretch of trail that hikers got a first look at is particularly special. It comes in near the Kingsdale complex parking lot and swings down into the valley between it and the Berksdale golf course.

"It's a really pretty piece of trail," he said. "I want to get people out to see what we did."

Among other things, he said, this section provides access to Little Sugar Creek. There aren't many ways to get this close to the creek in Bella Vista outside of the golf courses, he said.

The section in question also features bluffs and other rock formations, but it's important to note this is only a snippet of a 50-mile trail system, Rushing said.

Other sections are very different, he explained, but there are excellent vistas and rock formations and other sights to see throughout the system.

The southern sections of trail are mostly complete, he said, because the contractor working on them had tight deadlines and needed to be back up north for a different job this summer.

The trails cannot be opened until the road crossings and tunnels are complete, he explained, though he hopes to have the trails open sometime around November.

Bella Vista communications manager Cassi Lapp said the city is planning to use a program similar to what it did with the Back 40, in which volunteers who trim weeds and perform other maintenance can get a tag allowing early trail access.

Mayor Peter Christie said this was his first time on the new trail system and he's impressed.

"It's absolutely gorgeous," he said.

Christie said he was especially impressed to see the trail was dressed with rocks to prevent erosion in low spots and the whole thing was fairly easy to walk.

Pastor Mark Voll with Village Bible Church was among the hikers.

"What impressed me is the way they use the natural beauty to accentuate going for a walk. It's like going for a technicolor walk," he said, noting the vibrant green leaves on every side.

Voll said he hopes to see most of the finished product, though much like the city's 550 miles of road, he doubts he'll ever see all of it.

"Don't want to take for granted the physical ability to see these things," he said.

General News on 06/05/2019

Print Headline: First look at 11 Under trails

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