This past year has been filled with news of developments concerning the Neosho bike trails. One year ago, from this point the mountain bike trails in Morse Park were a greatly anticipated thing. We could only imagine what they might end up looking like. The conceptual plan was nearly developed, and we all had high hopes of what this all might bring.

Here we are a year and change into this project, still searching for additional grant monies, waiting on local funding opportunities, and refining plans.

It is a time of year and a point in this project that we can look to where we have been. We have a plan developed, we secured a contract with an outstanding trail building crew from Northwest Arkansas who built us some very fine trails, met all deadlines that we gave them, we had a very successful Grand Opening of the Phase 1 of the High Ground Bike Preserve and we have bicyclist traveling from all over the Four-States to try out our new trails.

We applied for a Recreational Trails Grant that is handled through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri State Parks that we did not get. We applied for a People For Bikes Grant, that we did not get. But even with those opportunities falling through we still managed to complete our planned trails with the help of local groups like RideMOBikes, Bike Neosho and local people just wanting a place to ride. Volunteer’s made use of space that was made available in the park to create the Skills Loop including the use of a contribution of bike features from American Ramp Company of Joplin, Missouri. They also built the Low Ground Loop that travels an area in the valley along Hickory Creek.

What we have now when added all up is over 8 miles of mountain bike trails completed on the ground! Add it the 1.7 miles of hard surfaced trail that exists in the park, we have 10 miles of bicycle trails to ride in Morse Park. The latest 1.6 mile downhill on the east side of the Park will be finished and open in early January. We have plans that include more locations of trails, stream crossing and making use of more property on the east side of Hickory Creek. These things will have to wait on additional funding.

Meanwhile we can focus on what we have and maintaining what we have. These trails are well built, they travel through a very beautiful part of the park and provide for the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

When you have some time come out to the park and enjoy our trail system. Volunteer with Friends Of The Park, RideMOBikes or Bike Neosho if you wish, But most of all get out and enjoy Neosho’s Parks! Neosho Parks are Special.

-Clint Dalbom, Neosho Parks Director, writes an ongoing series of articles, Progress In The Parks, for the Neosho Daily News.