Neighbors to Hold Scott's Branch Trail Meeting

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COLUMBIA - Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley is hosting the final public interest meeting for the plan of the new Scott's Branch trail in Columbia Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the ARC on Ash Street. 

The plan currently calls for the trail to stretch from West Rollins Street to Bray Avenue through Bonnie View nature area. A PedNet proposal alters the route through Audubon Society land and Dublin Creek.

Dudley said the trail did not have to go through Audubon Society land, but would welcome negotiation between the city and the Audubon Society if a deal could be worked out.

Both the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary and Audubon land are designated nature areas.  Officials from the city and Audubon say they want to restore the area to its natural state.

The PedNet plan, which by law has to be ADA compliant, requires switchbacks on steep slopes near Dublin Creek. Installing those switchbacks would mean the removal of hundred-year-old trees, something the Audubon society says is unacceptable.

Audubon Society president Howard Hinkel said he knows the current plan doesn't offer enough help to kids riding their bikes to nearby Fairview Elementary School. He added, "We're working on something that makes parents comfortable and keeps the natural beauty of the land."

Hinkel said the society will work in conjunction with the city to reach a compromise so future Columbians can enjoy nature in an urban setting.