The Hot Springs Village trails marathon returns this April. The Property Owners’ Association trails committee discussed plans for the event at its March meeting.
Participants who complete 13.1 or 26.2 miles during the event will be treated to a hamburger picnic at Coronado Community Center, and will receive a certificate.
The trails marathon began in 2012 and has attracted dozens of participants each year.
Information about the event will be available at trailboxes near Village trailheads.
Seven new trailboxes will soon be installed by maintenance staff, recreation department director Stacy Hoover said at the meeting.
The committee typically holds two events per year, but also discuss ideas for additional events.
During the maintenance discussion, Hoover said this year’s budget includes funds for a backhoe, but a greater need currently exists for a roller. Rollers are used on trails to push small stones down, helping stabilize the soil and creating a smoother path.
Hoover said trails are covered on page 45 in the draft Comprehensive Master Plan, which remains open for public comment. Board approval of the CMP is set for Wednesday, April 18.
Hoover said the CMP found that Village trails are more than just an amenity; they can be an integral means of reaching other points in the Village. More than 700 respondents in Survey 1 identified trails as one of the Village’s more important amenities. The survey found more than 86 percent of the 2,174 respondents use existing walking and hiking trails.
“This trail system number is encouraging based on the fact that many of the trails must be accessed by trailheads parking lots. That means that current trail users are willing to drive to the trailhead to enjoy the walk/hike.
“Imagine if more trails were connected to a greater network system that linked recreational facilities, places to eat and shop, and other points of interest,” the report says.
“The ultimate goal is to have a network that is robust enough to provide access to residents so they have the option to walk rather than drive their car to these locations. All trails should be considered for recreation and transportational uses,” it adds.
Hoover told the committee last week she was still reading through the document, which exceeds 500 pages. “There’s a lot in here that I’m really excited about,” she said.
Carmelita Skoglund, who represents the committee at the POA’s newcomer meetings, said she told newcomers about the upcoming trails marathon. Newcomers always seem interested in trails, she added.
Hoover said the POA is working on a liability waiver for volunteers to sign. She hopes the Friends of the HSV Trails will be active in many ways, from helping plan and hold trails events to performing maintenance and helping with programming.
After the committee asked at the February meeting that whomever had been doing excessive trimming to quit, someone came to Hoover and apologized. The person was trying to help and thought it was what had been requested of the volunteer, she was told.
The next committee meeting will be 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 in Coronado Center.