By MATT PIKE
St. Joseph Post
A new trail system in the River Bluffs of St. Joseph will provide new opportunities for hikers and mountain bikers alike.
The City of St. Joseph held a ribbon cutting for the new River Bluff Trails Park on Friday with a crowd of bikers and hikers looking on.
St. Joseph Director of Parks and Recreation Chuck Kempf says the new trails is a huge project for St. Joseph.
"Not just in the physical aspect of it, but also in the impact that it's going to have on tourism, but also the impact that it's going to have for the local residents, this is big," Kempf tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post
Kempf says the River Bluff Trails Park will be a big tourism draw for a different demographic of people to draw to St. Joseph, particularly mountain bikers and hikers.
"A lot of these folks are traveling to go find these trail systems in other parts of the country, you know Arkansas is a big draw, Colorado is a big draw," Kempf explains. "But I think this now provides them with a really high-quality trail system that they can get a lot of their riding fix locally instead of having to travel all the time."
Kempf noted during the ribbon cutting ceremony the collaboration the city had with bikers to figure out how best to put the trails together.
Kempf says when designing a project like this, how it can attract tourism is always top of mind.
"You do some things that are designed to just benefit the local citizens, there's a lot of things that you do that do that, and then there's some things that you do that benefit both locally but also tourism," Kempf points out. "This is a huge tourism draw and it's a great motivator, and it's using funds that were generated by tourism to create another opportunity for more tourism."
Kempf says the hope of the park is to draw in a different demographic of tourists than is normally seen in St. Joseph.
The trail is designed with five different trails of varying difficulty, designed for hiking and mountain biking.