The Perfect Brew
Beer, trails combine for good time
Acity’s trail system provides more than an even path to walk on. Connecting parks or community destinations, collaborations between restaurants/ businesses and outdoor activities, offering a free alternative for active endeavors — a comprehensive trail system can improve the overall health and quality of life of a community.
“These trails are helping create a culture or a lifestyle change in Fort Smith where it’s easier for people to be healthier. The more trails we build, in my mind, I feel like the higher the usage will be,” says Casey Millspaugh with the Fort Smith Parks and Rec Commission. “I also think when people look for places to live, they like cool things like [what a trail system can offer]. I’m not saying that’s the most important thing, but it’s one of the 10 things they look for when they move to a city. It’s one of the 10 things that could attract people here.”
Millspaugh is also a co-director of the Ales for Trails Festival, hosting its second annual event on Saturday. The festival, which raised more than $20,000 last year, brings together more than 350 craft beers — and a whole day of family-friendly activities — to raise funds for the Fort Smith trail system.
“Everybody in Fort Smith wants development on the Riverfront, so from the tax dollar standpoint, the money is going to exactly what everybody in the city has wanted to happen,” Millspaugh shares. Construction begins Aug. 1 on the Greg Smith River Trail extension, which the money from the festival will support, in addition to tax dollars, private funds and grant money. “A lot of young people [have been] involved in this festival, and I feel like it’s a symbol of change in Fort Smith — young people stepping up, creating something cool to do, and raising a substantial amount of money to impact the city and the community.”
“Not being from here, I can see the great potential for Fort Smith,” adds Kathleen Ory, another co-director. “With all the various events we do down here, it’s just another reason people should come to Fort Smith for a night out and should want to move here. We’re really passionate about Fort Smith, and we want people to see that we have a good time here and have a lot of activities going on. I think ultimately, trails help with that, and I think the beer festival is one of the [elements] that will help with revitalizing downtown.”