Posted: Feb 7, 2020, 2:54 PM
If it’s true that numbers often tell the tale, then the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway walking/biking trail is one very popular attraction.
Since the first section of the trail was opened in 1999, nearly 8 million visitors have walked, jogged or biked the seven miles of asphalt pathway, and made use of public boat launches on the Red River.
A final two mile stretch of the path was officially opened in 2017 after a $1.2 million project.
Red River Waterway Commission (RRWC) member David Jones said Wednesday that the matrix used by the RRWC indicates an average of 35,000 persons a month use the trail and its facilities and the accessible boat launch.
Jones said the highest usage years were 2011 and 2012 when more than 625,000 visitors were recorded each year. Mother Nature had a hand in helping the parkway trail see its lowest two years of the decade.
“There was a dip in the numbers in 2015 and 2016 because the river was extremely high,” Jones told members of the Bossier Parish Police Jury. “It was dangerous. Portions of the walkway were closed a lot of the time because it was under water. Visitations are directly corelated to weather and river conditions.”
Despite those two years when visitations ranged from 275,000 (’15) and 375,000 (’16) Jones said the ART walking/biking trail is the most utilized recreational facility on the Red River in the RRWC’s seven-parish area.
“A lot of people underestimate how wonderful that is,” he said. “It is genuinely a benefit to the original investment.”