Advocates Begin Crafting Plan for Trails Promotion, High Usage

Community leaders and regional advocates came together Thursday to develop strategies for promoting and increasing usage of the emerging Northwest Arkansas trail system.

The Northwest Arkansas Council hosted the meeting to gather input for the formation of a strategic plan focused on creating a bright future for trails in the region. Mitchell Communications Group facilitated the event in Rogers to draw out ideas from the more than 70 participants.

Northwest Arkansas is home to more than 150 miles of hard and soft surface trails. The Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile paved path from Fayetteville to Bella Vista that’s scheduled to be complete next year, is the spine for the region’s impressive trails system.

“Northwest Arkansas is seeing the interest and enthusiasm for trails explode, and new trails and pathways are on the way,” said Misty Murphy, the Council’s regional trails coordinator. “We want to make sure the trail system has a clear marketing strategy and excellent programs and events that fit the region’s needs.”

Participants invited to the half-day session included police officers, school district administrators, state agency officials, non-profit representatives, elected city leaders, tourism promoters, trail volunteers, and business people. The event was high-energy, with participants brainstorming in focus groups to identify top priorities and key stakeholders.

The Northwest Arkansas Council will create a strategic plan, utilizing the information gathered at the meeting.

The plan will help lay out a stakeholder-driven work program for the new trails coordinator position.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to take the great ideas presented in the strategy session and collaborate with others to take our region’s trails to the next level,” Murphy said.