Riding in the River Valley Charity Bike Event scheduled for December 5th


Students from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith organized a charity bike ride to raise funds for gentle trails at the proposed Canopy Trail Park along the Arkansas River.

The Ride the River fundraising event kicks off at the US Marshals Museum at 2 p.m. on December 5. The students of Kristin Tardif’s Capstone collaboration organized the trip as part of their class.

The approximately 12-mile charity ride will begin at the parking lot of the US Marshals Museum, with cyclists using the Greg Smith Trail and Levee Trail to complete the round trip. Those who are comfortable with road cycling can start their ride in the Bakery District at 1:30 p.m.

The group expects to see around 100 runners at the event, and were roughly halfway through that number on Friday, group host John McIntosh said.

Students in Tardif’s class choose a community project to work on during their semester, McIntosh said.

“This particular group that I lead wanted to study Fort Smith’s trails and park systems, especially new parks that are underway and being planned,” McIntosh said.

He said the students learned from a local engineer that a group of cyclists were interested in going ahead and starting on the gentle trails.

“When the class heard this, it sparked their interest,” McIntosh said. “They said, ‘Well if we can raise some money to help these volunteer groups get started, maybe it will raise awareness of the project itself and hopefully it can be funded. in the next two years. ‘”

The group was particularly interested in the proposed 0.85 mile long canopy trail and connected soft surface trails that would be located on the 330 acres near the Arkansas River and Riverside Drive.

Entrance fee for the hike is $ 10 and all proceeds will be matched by corporate sponsors, with funds from the hike going towards the development of flexible trails at the proposed Canopy Trail Park located between the Arkansas River and the Riverfront Trail.

The funds raised will allow the rental of heavy operations equipment to clear the new soft trail for the volunteers, who will do the necessary manual labor.

The new trail is expected to open at the end of 2022 and will be suitable for walkers, runners and cyclists.

There will be a post-ride party in the Bakery District with live music and food trucks, as well as prize designs provided by The Woodsman Company.

Registration for the race closes at noon on December 4th. Runners can register on RiverfrontFS.com.

Event partners include Hanna Oil and Gas, The Bakery District, The Woodsman Company, CyberSpyder, Park Partners, 64.6 Downtown, River Valley Cycling and Frontier Ozark Off Road Cyclists.

Abbi Ross is the company and featured reporter for the Southwest Times Record. She can be reached at aross@swtimes.com or on Twitter at @__AbbiRoss

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