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Springfield Earns Its Third National Recreation Trail

The family that plays together stays together. It’s an old saying that you probably rarely think about, but Ozark Greenways, with its now “triple crown” of national recreation trails in Springfield says it’s got the perfect way for families in the Ozarks to enjoy some healthy summer fun. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes tells us how Springfield’s third national recreation trail is exactly what Ozark Greenways was trying to achieve, and it’s not just for the pretty scenery.

You can add Springfield’s South Creek Greenway to the list of national recreation trails the city has to offer. Ozark Greenways is a citizen’s group dedicated to preserving greenspace through the creation of linear parks. That same group oversees all of Springfield’s recreation trails and is excited that its hard work is paying off. Galloway Creek Greenway was the first local trail to be named a national recreation trail, and earned its designation in 2003. Frisco Highline Trail followed three years later.

Terry Whaley is the executive director of Ozark Greenways. He says recognition from the National Park Service means they’re getting the job done.

“It recognizes our trail development, trail projects, as well as our use from the community of our trails as being sufficient and significant in terms of how other communities use, promote, and develop their trail system,” says Whaley.

Whaley also says in order to be considered for this title you must submit an application to American Trails Incorporated. They evaluate the application looking for minimum criteria which include: engaging community activities, promoting health and fitness, and using trails as an alternative form of transportation.

Many things are taken into account when creating a new trail. Whaley says everything from “What is it made of?” to “How do we promote the trail to the community” is taken into consideration. He also says that Ozark Greenways finds purpose in helping the community with physical fitness and healthy family relationships.

“Number one it’s fun, whether you’re into nature and into seeing the creeks and stuff. Get out with your family whether it’s your grandchildren or your children, and experience the trails whether you’re walking, biking or running. Number two, and probably one of the big reasons why a lot of people first get engaged on the trails is for physical fitness and exercise. It’s a safe place to run and bicycle. [It’s] a good, close to home kind of in your backyard recreation without having to load up the family [and] travel for hours to get somewhere,” says Whaley.

Ozark Greenways also says that these trails can easily be used as transportation to and from work and school. They encourage people to leave their cars behind and use the trails instead. This not only reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, but also gets people more physically fit. Currently, they are working on connecting the trails together as well as connecting them to the bus system and on street routes.

There are over 1,000 national recreation trails in the U.S.

For more information you can visit our website: KSMU.org

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.