Thursday, July 03, 2014

TOP STORY >> Paradise Park opens wildlife observation trail

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department opened an $86,000 wildlife observation trail at Paradise Park on Tuesday.

The trail was built with grant money from the Game and Fish Commission oil and gas reserve. Work on the half-mile paved looping trail took two years and was finished in June. The trail is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The trail has two bridges, benches, trash cans, space for an outdoor classroom and five exhibit areas, including a sandbox to see tracks animals have made, a butterfly garden, a deer observatory, birdhouses and a water organisms display.

Jacksonville Parks and Recreation programs manager Marlo Jackson said, “It will add to the quality of life in the city.”

She said the grant’s focus was for schools to use the trail as an outdoor class.

“All the exhibit ideas came from the schools,” Jackson said.

Mayor Gary Fletcher said, “This will be my getaway.”

Jackson said, “Paradise Park is a hidden treasure.”

Parks and recreation maintenance and staff, the Jacksonville Rotary Club, Girl Scouts Troop 6438 and airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base’s 19th Airlift Wing maintenance squadron helped make the trail possible.