Included in the 13 projects was an $86,000 grant to fund a 6 feet 8 inch wide 1/3-1/2 mile long asphalt loop trail and paved parking in Jacksonville. The money for the program comes from the AGFC's gas lease revenue.
The project for Paradise Park Wildlife Observation Trail includes various wildlife, vegetation, a stream, bridges, a wildlife blind and many exhibits, which will include, but are not limited to, wildlife feeders, worm farm, sand box, aquatic organisms and plants, bird houses, and a butterfly garden.
Along the trail there will be benches and large boulders on which to sit and observe wildlife in the surroundings. Within the trail there will be an open space large enough for a class to discuss what they learned during their observation. A trail head, interpretive exhibit signs, and trash receptacles will also be included. Bulldozers started clearing ground on Monday for the trail, which will provide enhanced opportunities for the enjoyment and observation of Arkansas' wildlife by the general public.
The trails program grants were recommended by a seven member advisory board appointed by the Director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. The program is a result of Act 686 of the 2009 session of the Arkansas General Assembly. Cities, counties, state agencies and nonprofit groups were eligible for the program.
The purpose of the grant program is to ignite interest in the natural, cultural, scenic beauty, fish, wildlife and other natural resources of Arkansas and to promote economic development in a healthy and environmentally sound manner. The trail is expected to promote wildlife observation, attract and increase tourism, promote economic development and promote a healthy lifestyle.