It is an exciting day for Bike Walk Nebraska, Great Plains Trails Network and the Nebraska Trails Foundation. Collectively, we formed the MoPac Alliance - coming together and utilizing each organization's unique strengths in an effort to tackle the challenges that come with the 9.5 mile gap in the MoPac Trail between Omaha and Lincoln. Today we are announcing our first completed project: the installation of trail head kiosks and way finding signage that will help people navigate through the gap in the trail between these two points. You can read the full news release here.
This group, capably chaired by GPTN's Corey Godfrey, has been working for months to get this accomplished. We leaned on the experience of the GPTN task force members as we researched the best route to recommend for the way finding signage. When the preferred route was identified, Bike Walk Nebraska took the baton and represented the group in advocating for the project with the Cass County Commissioners. Once this permission was granted, Chuck Griffith's team at the Nebraska Trails Foundation got us to the finish line by working with the Cass County roads department staff on the details of the signage procurement and placement. #Teamwork
We should also take a moment to thank everyone that is part of our team:
Corey Godfrey, Dale Arp, Doug Dittman, Jim Krieger and Bill Wehrbein (GPTN), Chuck Griffith and Jason Buss (NTF), Benny Foltz (BWN and NTF) and Alex Duryea (NTF and Nebraska Game and Parks). Special thanks to Marie Gregoire (NTF) for pie and a home base at her idyllic place in rural Cass County and Marty Shukert (BWN and NTF) for designing the kiosk plates.
Providing way finding though this gap in the MoPac Trail is not just something that will benefit local riders that want to bike between Omaha and Lincoln. As we've talked about before, this is the biggest gap standing between a full 225 miles of uninterrupted trail starting in Marysville, KS, up through Beatrice, Lincoln, across the Lied Bridge* near South Bend, into Omaha, across the Bob Kerrey Bridge and down to Coin Iowa. (The others being the 2 mile gap on the 144th Street Trail near Chalco Hills on the outskirts of Omaha and a short connection to the West Papio Trail in Omaha.)
*As you know, the Lied Bridge over the Platte River near South Bend is still closed from the extensive damaged it received during the floods last spring. We've learned that the bridge repairs are on track to happen this fall, which is welcome news! HOWEVER, before you jump on your bike, you should be aware that the trails on the Sarpy County side of the bridge are still washed out and NOT OPEN. An uninterrupted connection will not be possible until these repairs are done next spring.
We are grateful for the partnership of the Great Plains Trails Network at the Nebraska Trails Foundation. The team has grown stronger along the way, and we're looking forward to seeing what goals we can set our sights on next!