The Northwest Arkansas Council has created a new position to expand awareness and use of the new Razorback Greenway and the region’s growing trail system.
Misty Murphy, Northwest Arkansas’ first regional trails coordinator, started work on Sept. 23. Murphy will work with local governments, trail advocates, and other stakeholders to develop a work plan to highlight the trail system’s most beneficial attributes for runners, walkers, hikers and cyclists.
The Razorback Greenway stretches from Bella Vista to Fayetteville, and several of the region’s cities use it as the backbone of the larger trail system.
“The Council wants to help our region’s new trail system come alive through a diverse slate of activities,” said Murphy, a former reporter for the Benton County Daily Record in Bentonville. “The goal is to have events of all shapes and sizes once the trail is complete early next year.
“We have an opportunity to transform Northwest Arkansas into a regional destination for fitness enthusiasts and a haven for local pedestrians who enjoy an urban nature walk. I am excited to help facilitate future development and make the system even more accessible to more people.”
Mike Harvey, the Council’s chief operating officer, said Murphy is up to the challenge of bringing together stakeholders in a diverse region. She’ll also learn about and adopt some best practices from around the country to build consensus among local stakeholders on promotion, events and advocacy.
“Misty is an avid cyclist, and she’s already working closely with cycling groups in Benton and Washington counties,” Harvey said. “It’s going to be important for her to involve people she knows and those who’ve helped take the greenway from an idea to what’s an almost completed project. It’s also going to be just as important for her to engage with others in the community who may have their own ideas about how to make the Razorback Greenway an excellent resource for everyone who lives here.
“With Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, University of Arkansas athletics, Arvest Ballpark, our region’s stunning outdoor settings and now the Razorback Greenway, we’re constantly giving more people reasons to live here and visit here.”
The Council worked with representatives of Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Rogers and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission before selecting Murphy as the region’s trails coordinator.