6/6/12 – Great Rivers Greenway to Hold Ribbon Cutting Ceremony June 29 for Al Foster Memorial Trail Extension in Wildwood

New half-mile segment is latest addition to Al Foster Memorial Trail in the planned Meramec Greenway 

St. Louis, Mo., June 6, 2012 … The Great Rivers Greenway District, in partnership with the City of Wildwood, is inviting residents to attend a ribbon cutting event for a completed extension to the Al Foster Memorial Trail on Friday, June 29, at 2 p.m. The new half-mile trail extension is the latest addition to Great Rivers Greenway’s planned Meramec Greenway and adds to the existing 5-mile trail between Castlewood State Park and the Glencoe Trailhead in Wildwood. The trail also passes through Sherman Beach County Park and connects to the Rock Hollow Trail and the Hamilton-Carr Trail. The ribbon cutting will be held at the Glencoe Trailhead, located at 225 Grand Ave. in Wildwood.

From Sherman Beach County Park to the terminus of the new trail extension, the Al Foster Memorial Trail retraces the original route of the Missouri Pacific Railroad that expanded west from St. Louis in 1851. To play off the trail’s historic roots, the event will be themed as an old-fashioned ice cream social, with a modern twist. Attendees will be able to enjoy free regular and kiddie-size shaved ice and a variety of ice cream treats from Kona Ice and listen to old-time music sung by the Rivertown Sound Quartet, a local barbershop quartet. Wabash Frisco and Pacific Steam Railway, which operates a 12-inch gauge, small-scale steam passenger train that runs along the Meramec River, will also be at the event and will offer free rides to those in attendance. Brief remarks will be made by Great Rivers Greenway representatives and local officials, and attendees are invited to walk or bike the trail. A few four-person golf carts will also be on-hand for those who need assistance or wish to get a quick view of the new trail extension.

The Al Foster Memorial Trail was named in honor of Albert S. Foster, an editor, journalist and outdoorsman. Foster aided in establishing Operation Clean Stream in 1967, an annual volunteer river cleanup effort along the Meramec Greenway. The trail named in his honor is flat and shaded and offers beautiful views of the Meramec River, limestone bluffs and unique natural communities of plants and wildlife. This area within the Meramec Greenway has also been designated an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society, and many songbird and woodland warbler species can be seen in the natural forest habitat surrounding the trail.

The Meramec Greenway will ultimately consist of more than 60 miles of multipurpose paths along the Meramec River, from the confluence of the Meramec and Mississippi Rivers to the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area in St. Louis and Jefferson Counties. To date, Great Rivers Greenway has helped to complete more than 15 miles of trail in the Meramec Greenway, with additional sections in development.

“The extension of the Al Foster Memorial Trail is a milestone in our continuing progress on the Meramec Greenway,” noted Susan Trautman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway. “This new trail will be invaluable to area residents, providing them with access to nature, as well as to area parks and open spaces and interconnecting trails and greenways.”

Great Rivers Greenway partnered with the City of Wildwood, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and the St. Louis County Department of Parks to extend the Al Foster Memorial Trail. The trail is part of Great Rivers Greenway’s River Ring, a planned interconnected system of trails, greenways, on-street bicycle routes and parks that will encircle the region. The River Ring will encompass a 600-mile web of more than 45 greenways that will crisscross St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County, covering 1,200 square miles and two million people. The greenways being developed in our region can take several years to build and are a collaborative effort between Great Rivers Greenway, neighborhood stakeholders and local municipalities. They connect people and communities, protect and preserve the environment, create access to natural places, promote good health, expand transportation options and transit connections and stimulate economic vitality in our region.

About Great Rivers Greenway:

Great Rivers Greenway is a public organization established in November 2000 with the passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Initiative in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The organization is developing an interconnected system of trails and greenways to make the region a better place to live. For more information, visit www.grgstl.org.


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For more information, contact:

Pamela Powell, The Hauser Group, 314.436.9090

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