Trail planners move to next phase

Now that construction for the Tanglefoot Trail is underway, its developers are moving forward in the planning of four rest stops along the trail, known as whistle stops. 

Once the Tanglefoot Trail is completed, visitors along the trail will have four places in which they can stop and park their bicycle,  take a break, get some water, and more. These four whistle stops will be located along the approximate 44-mile trail from New Albany to Houston.

These stops will be equipped with restrooms, history center, logo sales areas, bike rentals, bike racks, waste receptacles, benches, picnic tables and parking. 

The Tanglefoot Trail is a rails-to-trails project that aims to preserve the abandoned railroad corridor and its 100-foot right of way for multiple purposed, such as a recreational trail for hikers, equestrians, walkers, runners, skaters, and cyclists. 

During the planning and development of the trail, the board of directors got information and ideas from the Longleaf Trace in Hattiesburg, the state’s longest rail-to-trail conversion.

While construction of the trail progresses, funds are being raised to match grant funds received from Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for the design and construction of the whistle stops in Ingomar, Ecru, Algoma and Houlka. 

It is necessary that these facilities are constructed prior to the opening of the trail. 

Donors of $2,500 or more will be appropriately recognized on signage at a whistle stop of choice.

Betsey Hamilton,  chairman for the GM&O Rails-to-Trails District, developers of the Tanglefoot Trail, said, “I am trying to raise funds for the whistle stop in Ingomar.”

For those who wish to sign the whistle stop donor agreement, it states that the donation is for the support of the construction and/or maintenance of facilities that are a part of that project. Additionally, said donation can be utilized as a part of any matching funds.

This donation shall be used and applied to the costs of a 'whistle stop' facility to be located on the trail at Ingomar/Ecru/Algoma/Houlka. The district shall give appropriate recognition for this donation which may be utilized in support of the entire project,” Hamilton said.

Three Rivers Planning and Development District is the administrative and fiscal agent for this project.

Various clubs and organizations around town have already started contributing towards the project.

Jill Smith, director of the Union County Heritage Museum said that the community has come together to help with this project. 

“We felt that it was worthy to give $2,500 towards signage at the whistle stop; it is around the same cost as having a historical marker,” Smith said. “With that rail line being on the Chickasaw trail and William Faulkner we thought it was good to invest in it. We invest in the community and we want the community know that we give back too.”

 If anyone wants to donate towards the trail, contact Karen Heinze at Three Rivers Planning and Development District at 662-488-6939.