Classic Cullman 2017 - Page 39

Classic Cullman / fine & dandy duck river: Cullman’s Newest Outdoor Spot By Trent Moore Cullman County’s new Duck River Reservoir may have been designed to ensure 100 years’ worth of clean and affordable water for this growing area, but locals and visitors alike are discovering that “the Duck” is already enriching Cullman’s outdoor life in more immediate ways. An extensive network of outdoor trails and scenic areas are drawing biking enthusiasts to the Duck River Reservoir, with miles of additional trails set to come online over the next two years. %\WKHWLPHWKHWUDLOQHWZRUNLVʏQLVKHG Duck River will offer 21 miles of pristine biking trails that completely circumscribe the reservoir. Two pedestrian bridges spanning the new lake will also shorten the trail crossings in dramatic fashion. The Duck’s trails are built to International Mountain Bike Association standards, assuring avid bikers a trip around the lake will be well worth it. And, only hikers and bikes are allowed — no motorized vehicles are permitted on the trails. In its short time in operation, the Duck’s new recreation addition has already proven a hit, with 13.4 miles of the natural-surface trails already open for public use. For planners, the fresh expansion of the reservoir’s Tim Scott Walking Trails — named in honor of key player in preserving the area’s natural beauty — marks a turning point that brings to life all the years of justifying and explaining the SURMHFWȊVVHFRQGDU\EHQHʏWV “I think we’re really starting to see, on the recreational side, what portions of this project are supposed to look like,” said Cullman Economic Development representative Susan Eller. “People who VHHLWIRUWKHʏUVWWLPHDUHEORZQDZD\ They’ll come back and say, ‘I didn’t know we had something like this in Cullman County!’” Open from dawn to dusk, the trails hew closely to the reservoir’s scenic shoreline. A standing arrangement with federal and municipal leaders ensures the area will remain undeveloped and wild — a boon to the growing fan base of bikers who want to preserve their new favorite spot. While the Duck River Recreation Area’s wild, rural character is a major part of its appeal, planners designed the trailway with safety in mind. The entire system was designed in such a way to allow quick trail access for law enforcement and emergency personnel. Mile markers indicate location along the trail’s length, and no part of the trail network lies more than 100 feet away from rescue boat access. :KHQ\RXFRPH\RXȊOOʏQGWKUHHSDUNLQJ areas to embark on your Duck River adventure: You can reach the trails by parking at the boat launch on County Road 1651; at a separate trailhead along County Road 1651; and a scenic public pier — also on County Road 1651. - 39 classic 2016.indd 39 8/31/2016 10:34:00 AM