By Errol Castens
PONTOTOC – Sponsorships of rest stops, rain stops, mile posts and other elements of the Tanglefoot Trail continue to prove popular with businesses.
Trail Manager Don Locke told members of the GM&O Rails-to-Trails Recreational District board on Friday that $16,000 worth of sponsorship contracts have been signed since Dec. 16. That adds to some $56,000 in sponsorships contracted since the trail opened in October.
“All of our pavilions have been sponsored,” Locke said, referring to the structures that will accommodate visitors at trail gateways in Houston, Pontotoc and New Albany.
The most recent business support for the 44-mile trail came from firms in New Albany, Pontotoc and Calhoun City and represented professionals in accountancy, veterinary medicine, engineering, dentistry, law and physical therapy.
In addition to the three gateways and four intermediate “whistle stops” with drinking water and bathroom facilities in Houlka, Algoma, Ecru and Ingomar, Locke and trail maintenance supervisor Keith Herring chose sites just before Christmas for six rest stops and six rain stops along the route.
“Rest stops are essentially just decks with benches for people to sit and rest a little while,” Locke said. “Rain stops have a roof to go with them.”
The rails-to-trails conversion of a portion of the Mississippi-Tennessee Railroad – historically known as the GM&O Railroad – also has 43 mile markers and 30 bridges to be claimed by sponsors, along with seven warm-up stations, seven information stations and an undetermined number of 5k and 10k turnarounds yet to be created.