Expanding Tulsa's RiverTrail

Wednesday, May 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The weather's getting warmer and maybe you’re thinking about getting out to enjoy it. Of course, Tulsa is home to one of the region’s best recreational trails.

In fact, the Tulsa RiverParks announced some new funding just this week. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg tells us what's just around the bend for the RiverTrail.

Hard to believe, but a remnant of the old trail near 28th and Riverside really isn't much different from what it originally looked like. But from its humble beginnings, the 3-mile stretch of gravel has grown into 36 miles of grade-A asphalt. And while it took 30 years to reach that first 36, 19 more miles are planned in just the next 3 years. “All those will be on the ground in the next 3 years, so yeah, that's definitely exciting." Gary Hamer with INCOG says the trail system is growing like never before.

Not just in terms of size but organization. Before it was more trial and error, but now, they have a specific master plan that involves all the surrounding communities. "And kind of form a network rather than like you said a piecemeal here or there, kind of hit or miss thing."

The newest section of the RiverTrail, actually brand new between 41st and 51st Street on the west bank of the river. Appropriately enough, it's named after Jackie Bubenik, the man who had the vision to start the RiverTrail system, but even he might be surprised to see where the trail system is going. The next step is the Osage Trail going north through Sperry, and eventually all the way to Skiatook.

"With all the expansion we're going to have, it's going to be fantastic." George and Denise Sherrick are exactly the kind of people that trail officials have in mind when they talk about quality of life and attracting people to Tulsa. “We're out here 5, 6 times a week, it's a very important part of our lives."

Most of the trail system is done with federal money, so even with local budget woes; the trail plan has stayed on track.