New trail dedicated along Grindstone Creek

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COLUMBIA - Bikers, walkers, runners and hikers have a new trail at their disposal in Columbia.

The Grindstone Creek Trail was dedicated on Thursday in front of a crowd of more than 50 interested trail goers.

The trail is 1.75 miles of concrete, following the Grindstone Creek for the most part.

The dedication included a short program, live music, a ribbon cutting, a tree seedling giveaway and a guided tour of the trail.

Construction on the trail was actually completed in November of 2015, but the dedication was pushed back to Thursday, to coincide with the spring weather.

Trailgoer Rachel Ruhlen said this new trail stands out from the rest.

"I think this is one of the most beautiful trails we have," Rhulen said. "We've built a lot of new trails lately and this is by far one of the best."

Fellow biker Bryan Nehl also said he has enjoyed using the new trail.

"I had kind of mixed feelings at first about it being paved, but I really do like that," Nehl said. "You don't have to worry so much about gravel washing out and that sort of thing. They do a great job of maintaining it, and it's really beautiful. It's very scenic through here and it's not like it's just a straight trail, there's a lot of twists and turns in it and it really keeps your interest."

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs said the trail is the best of what Missouri has to offer.

"One thing unique about this compared to a lot of the other trails is when you're on this trail you feel like you're in southern Missouri, like on the Meramec River or some of those rivers you see down south, but here you're still in Columbia," Griggs said. "It's not like some of our other creeks like the Hinkson that has a lot of muddy banks. This portion of the Hinkson has the gravel beds and it gives you the feeling that you're on a trout stream or something like that."

Griggs said the trail can be used by all sorts of people, not just those looking for exercise.

"It certainly impacts everyone's quality of life," Griggs said. "Instead of having to drive to the Ozarks they can come down here and walk with their families, the kids can play on the bridges and catch crawdads and look at the minnows and the fish in the water. They can get that nature theme without ever really having to leave 10 minutes from their house."

Griggs also said the new trail could help connect university students from their housing complexes to campus.

"We met with some of the university students who live down the street at the Domain just down the street, and they see this as a great way for them to connect with campus without getting on the road so we anticipate the use of this trail is just going to increase each year," Griggs said."

Grindstone Creek Trail was completed at a cost of $1.61 million and funded by the Park Sales Tax with a contribution from the Missouri Department of Conservation.