FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2019
Contact: Ken Eastin
Temporary Closure of Last Call Trail at Kessler Mountain Regional Park
Fayetteville Parks and Recreation is temporarily closing the Last Call Trail at Kessler Mountain Regional Park. This closure includes the portion of trail from the lower intersection of Terrapin Station Trail to the upper intersection with Terrapin Station near the bluff line. This closure is necessary to allow the trail tread to recover from significant damage it received through heavy use during wet winter and spring conditions. The closure is expected to last for approximately four weeks with a re-opening tentatively scheduled for the week of June 17.
Heavy, record-setting precipitation has caused extreme ground water that has led to many significant seeps on the mountain, particularly below the bluff line. These wet conditions, coupled with improper trail use by all user groups (including cyclists and pedestrians) has led to significant damage in several areas. The damage has been particularly concentrated on Last Call, which lies at a lower elevation on the mountain.
When trails are used during wet conditions, rutting and disturbance caused by tires and feet causes puddling to remain for longer periods. As users continue to traffic these trails, they naturally attempt to avoid the wet areas by going around them. This leads to “trail spread” as the width of the trail in these areas quickly widens from two feet to six or eight feet. This rapid damage decreases the sustainability of the trail, increases future drainage concerns, and severely increases the amount of work necessary to repair the damage. Since the city relies on volunteers for much of its natural-surface trail maintenance, we need assistance from trail users to protect our trails.
The proximity of Last Call Trail to Terrapin Station Trail makes a traditional reroute difficult. However, with many trail events scheduled at Kessler Mountain Regional Park this summer, it is critical to issue this temporary closure in order to allow these areas time to dry and to support volunteer reconstruction efforts. These volunteer efforts, led by the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists (OORC), will include durable stone tread armoring, so the tread will be better able to handle traffic during wet conditions with much less damage. Armoring the seeps and larger drainage areas with natural stone is a sustainable and lasting solution while preserving the current identified difficulty rating of Last Call. The armoring stone will be sourced off-site to avoid increasing the environmental impact on the mountain.
This proposed closure does not inhibit access to the mountain. Trail users can use Terrapin Station from the lower portion of Last Call as a connection to the top and into the larger trail system, or the original route up Judge Cummings Road to the lower end of the Trent Trail.
For more information about Fayetteville’s Trails, visit www.fayetteville-ar.gov/trails.