By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Runners from the area gathered along Veterans Boulevard Saturday for the dedication of Tupelo’s newest park, the Music Bend Nature Trail.
The new trail marks the city’s 20th park, serving as a 4k and 5k nature trail and cross country running track.
“This is a vision come true for me and Lisa,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. “Three years ago we visited our daughter in Austin, Texas., and she and our son-in-law and their baby and lab – all of us went down to Lake Austin, to the nature trail.”
Reed said he was inspired by the trail and number of residents who used it and wanted Tupelo to have its own.
The city allotted $50,000 for the park, whose trail begins next to the dog park. So far, $25,000 has been spent on the initial construction.
Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis said they want to build bridges and overlooks along the trail, as well as continue to spruce it up.
“I think it was an excellent trail,” said David Neilsen, 66, of Tupelo, who was one of the earlier finishers in the trail’s inaugural 4k run. “I’m starting a walking group and we’ll definitely use it for the walking group, but it’s a good running trail too. It’s got a couple of little surprises in it, which is neat, but for the most part it’s really smooth and welldone.”
In addition to the 4k run, the Tupelo High School Golden Wave cross country team hosted its inter-squad meet on the new course.
Robin Shumaker and Emily Holcomb, both 16, run on the Pontotoc High School cross country track team also ran at the trail.
“It was really fun,” Robin said. “It’s good to have somewhere like this in Tupelo so we can have somewhere to train for cross county.”
Emily said the trail was good for scenery too: “It was a really nice and really pretty trail – scenic.”
The trail runs along Mud Creek and past a watering hole where, as legend goes, Elvis and his friends skinny-dipped. Reed said the Tupelo Garden Club plans to make an overlook at the watering hole to tie Elvis tourism and the parks together.
Anyone interested in helping with the trail can contact Friends of Music Bend Nature Trail at the Tupelo Parks and Recreation office.