Extension of trail cause for celebration
Bicyclists, hikers and any other kind of outdoors enthusiast will be able to enjoy an extension of an existing trail cutting through Palatka starting Saturday.
The 6-mile extension of the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail’s 29-mile paved trail will be opened to the public following years of planning and construction.
The hope for the people who pushed for the trail’s extension is to continue promoting Palatka as a trail city, a designation that brings expected economic development along with it.
“It’s almost a contiguous trail through Palatka, and we can take advantage of the trailgoers who come through town,” said Kraig McLane, the vice chairman of the Putnam County Waterways and Trails Committee. “It’s a good economic opportunity for the community, and it’s a healthy lifestyle facility for bike riding, hiking, rollerblading and those kinds of things.”
The opening ceremony, hosted by Putnam Blueways & Trails, will feature brief speeches by state House Rep. Bobby Payne, Putnam County Commissioners Jeff Rawls and Buddy Goddard and Nicholas Brown, the assistant park manager of Gold Head State Park.
It’s scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the Barnes Pole Barn on Springside Cutoff Road in Palatka.
The public will be able to explore the trail at 4 p.m. at their leisure. Putnam Blueways & Trails will have its annual meeting afterward and will host a party featuring bluegrass music group Possum Trot & Hoo Doggies.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their bicycles, a covered dish and beverages.
“It should be a nice, homegrown atmosphere with typical southern hospitality,” McLane said.
The organization will also give a 21-speed Schwinn comfort bicycle, which McLane said can be customized to suit the winner.