The Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville took another step toward the planned trail work with the signing of a partnership agreement Wednesday.
Work is planned for the Chief Illini Trail, which runs from Lone Point to Eagle Creek State Park, and expansion of the General Dacey Trail on Corps property. The project is Making Trails Work at Lake Shelbyville.
“The agreement allows us to be able to get the grants that we applied to,” said Phil Manhart, Lake Shelbyville ranger. “It’s also necessary to get Americorps workers here.”
St. Louis District Corps of Engineers Commander Colonel Christopher Hall was at Lake Shelbyville Wednesday to sign the Challenge Partnership Agreement with General Dacey Trail Chairman Jerry Yockey. The agreement is also with the Trails for Illinois, Lake Volunteers Association, Central Illinois Mountain Bike Association, Student Conservation Association, International Mountain Bike Association, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the National Park Service.
The groups formed a partnership in December with a group meeting to discuss the importance of the trail system to the Lake Shelbyville area. To have an improved trail system would help to bring more visitors to the area who enjoying hiking and biking.
Americorps workers will do much of the rehab work on the Chief Illini Trail under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. The Student Conservation association will work on the General Dacey Trail extension which includes seven miles of hiking and mountain bike trails.
“We hope to be able to open the hiking and mountain bike trails by early fall,” said General Dacey Trail chairman Jerry Yockey. “The completion of the project will mean that the (Dacey) trail system will be 14 miles long - 7 miles will be multi-purpose and 7 miles will be a more rugged experience for hiking and mountain biking. A 14-mile trail becomes a destination for trail users.”
“This is a unique agreement with so many partners.” Yockey said. “We’re fortunate to bring so many good organizations to help us work on the trails at Lake Shelbyville.
“Working with this big partnership brings together service, experience, expertise, and knowledge,” Manhart said.
He added that there will be volunteer work days set up to get people from the surrounding communities interested and involved in the project.