Sevier County, Arkansas has received a grant to help bring in biking trails to De Queen Lake.
Community leaders are working hard to put the area on the national map as a destination spot. The idea is the brainchild of De Queen doctor and Councilman Jason Lofton. Lofton is an avid mountain biker, so are his wife and children. “The land we have available at the lake has potential for fifty to sixty, maybe up to a hundred miles of trails eventually,” he said.
Lofton is also on the board for a local non-profit which promotes community development, Legacy Initiatives. The group recently received a grant for the design of mountain biking trails around De Queen Lake. “I’ve researched that we could bring in a hundred thousand visitors a year. We already have a lot of people going to Broken Bow Lake and we hope to be able to bring in some of those people to give them something else to do besides just go to the lake,” he said.”
Lofton also hopes the trails would encourage more residents to exercise. “We don’t stack up to being one of the healthier counties in Arkansas and we want to change that,” he said.
This week, International Mountain Bicycling Association members have been exploring the terrain around De Queen Lake to design the trails. Project manager Stephen Kasacek said, “There’s really great infrastructure, from all the Army Corps’ day-use areas and there’s three campgrounds,
Local tourism committee member Keisha McKinney said she’s excited about the economic boost the trails could bring. “Its families, its people who come and stay for the weekend and they want a cabin they need places to eat,” she said.
Lofton said the trails would be designated for running, hiking and biking. He hopes construction on the trails will begin by this Fall. “We want to see the bike trails being kindof that spark that helps bring other things to the area,” he said.