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Feb 22, 2012 6:25 PM by Elizabeth Hill

New bike trail open

Funded by a $100,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration, the Atakapa-Ishak Trail has been in the planning stages for several years.

Lafayette Department of Traffic and Transportation planner Jennifer Severson says that money was used to mark pavement, add signs and trail head kiosks.

"Something like this designating a trail not only shows the cyclist where to go, it identifies to motorists that there are going to be cyclists here."

Phase one of the trail primarily used existing infrastructure like bike lanes and share the road markings. The next few phases will likely include new construction, in hopes of the trail eventually going all the way to St. Martin Parish.

"The idea is to showcase a lot of that natural, beautiful scenery and be able to access by bicycle."

"It'll travel predominately along rivers, canals and it will be removed from roads."

Cyclist Scott Schilling, who has been part of the planning from the start, says the new trail will provide a new option for bikers and hikers.

"If people have a facility to get outside and enjoy their environment, then we'll have a healthier, active lifestyle and more tourism opportunities."

Schilling and Severson hope this new trail will encourage people all over Acadiana to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

The ribbon cutting for phase one of the trail will take place Saturday morning at 10:30 at Parc Sans Souci followed by a bike ride along the trail to Beaver Park.

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