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Grand opening highlights walking trail benefits

Reported by: Jessica Albert
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Updated: 10/20/2013 11:29 pm
HOUSTON, Miss. (WTVA) -- This was not the first time Steve Chamblee and Jonathan Taylor had been on the Tanglefoot Trail.

They rode about half of its distance for the grand opening Sunday.

In fact, they've been waiting to experience it for some time now.

"[It brings] the community together and it gives us a common goal," Houston resident Steve Chamblee said.

Even though the nearly 45-mile trail opened to the public about a month ago, people from Chickasaw, Union and Pontotoc counties held official dedication ceremonies along it on Sunday.

At each point, people involved in its creation talked about the benefits the trail will bring to the communities it runs through.

"We are using this as a recreation amenity," Chickasaw Development Foundation Executive Director Joyce East said.

The people who brought the Tanglefoot Trail here said it will serve to promote a healthier lifestyle and help with the obesity problem in the Magnolia State.

"One of the wonderful things that we look forward to is our community being actively involved in recreation," East said.

Recreation is not the only benefit these developers are looking forward to.

East said the trail will continually give back to its communities.

"Our citizens stand to be the beneficiaries," East said. "Our communities will reap the benefits of economic development."

Cyclists from Michigan, Tennessee and other parts of Mississippi came to the area just to travel the trail on its special day.

"We're going to have people from everywhere on this thing," Sen. Russell Jolly (D-Houston) said. "Over 100,000 a year [we hope]."

These developers said bringing new people into the area will also spark other new opportunities as well.

"I can see events, festivals," Appalachian Regional Commission Director Mike Armour said. "I can see bike rental places, restaurants, tourism, maybe camping areas."

Chamblee and Taylor said this trail will give the area a chance to show what North Mississippi has to offer.

In the meantime, the riders said they intend to be frequent travelers of the Tanglefoot Trail.
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