IDAHO FALLS —— It’s time to take out your bikes and helmets and go for a ride on a new trail near the Meppen Canal.
The city of Idaho Falls celebrated the opening of the Canal Trail Thursday at Lindon Park Elementary School by cutting a yellow ribbon and welcomed bikers and pedestrians to use it.
“This is a really exciting addition to our park and trail system through the community of Idaho Falls. It’s been a long time in the making,” said PJ Holm, Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation director.
The three-mile stretch of the Canal Trail connects Community Park north through the city all the way past 1st Street to Garfield.
“This is the first three miles of many to come. It connects with more than 30 miles of trails and pathways that we have currently running through the city of Idaho Falls and connecting to surrounding areas,” Holm said.
This Canal Trail project is part of the Connecting our Community comprehensive bicycle, pedestrian, and trails facility plan. According to city leaders, the vision is to create a comprehensive and interconnected pedestrian, trail, and on-street bicycle network that fosters a culture of active living in Idaho Falls.
“The vision of connecting our communities, … was that Ammon, Iona, Ucon, Bonneville County and Idaho Falls would all be part of this system and connected that way,” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said.
Holm says the next phase of the Canal Trail project will begin sometime in the fall or early winter, when the water is out of the canal. There will be a bridge crossing built that will pass over Cranmer Avenue between 14th and 15th street to connect trails.
“We are filled with a lot of gratitude today. If you haven’t been on a bike in a while, get out there and let’s enjoy these trails and use them!” Casper said.
The Canal Trail project costs $1 million. The city of Idaho Falls received a grant from the Federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) to help pay for part of the project.