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BELLA VISTA -- The first piece of the Little Sugar Creek trails is officially open.

Erin Rushing, NWA Trailblazers executive director, said the remainder of the system is mostly built with 45 miles of trail finished and another 5 to 6 miles to go. The unopened segments are waiting on the completion of three remaining tunnels, which are expected to take roughly one month each.

"The tunnels are really the last piece of the puzzle," he said.

The very last step will be a bridge spanning Little Sugar Creek to connect the new trail system with the Back 40 trails.

The trail system may continue to open in pieces, he added.

People were out earlier this month exploring the newly opened trails.

Bill Ryan, who was out for a ride, said he moved to Bella Vista 16 years ago and retired last year. Ryan said he previously rode road bikes and thought mountain biking would be too dangerous, but had to give it a try once the trail ran right by his house.

"This is my favorite amenity of all of them," he said. "We live in a great habitat ... this is an awesome way to see it."

Riding gives him a different look at his town, he said, and a chance to see the beautiful nature inside the city.

It's also quickly become his favorite workout, he said, in part because he can gear up, head out the front door and get started right away rather than hauling the bike somewhere to ride or heading to a gym.

Ryan said he sees people of all ages riding, hiking and walking these trails.

John Nuttall of Bella Vista said the new trail system is very different from the Back 40 trails because it was built with more machinery, which creates a wider trail.

One trail, Tweety Bird, sits near the intersection of Chelsea Road and Prescott Road, and it provides a wide, flat, easy walk to a rock beach on Lake Windsor, he said. It's a great place for kids to play or for a family to have a picnic, he added.

"Anyone who can walk could get there," he said.

Sports on 01/14/2020

Print Headline: Trail section opens

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