Recreation opportunities for area residents took a welcomed step forward Saturday when three trails were officially opened at Friendship Park in Smithfield.
The trails, which extend around the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at the park, are great additions to our area. In addition to helping to promote exercise and a healthy lifestyle, the trails are expected to offer residents a reason to visit the park throughout the year, and not just during the week in August when the county fair is held.
The system includes a rehabilitation trail. Sponsored by Rehab Plus Physical Therapy of Steubenville, it's a short, paved trail that is designed to be used by persons who are recovering from surgery or injury.
Also part of the system is the inner MidWay Trail, which covers about a mile along the fairgrounds buildings, and the outer Overlook Trail, which includes the MidWay Trail and covers about 1.5 miles. The trails will be open all year round, with the exception of the week before and the week of the county fair.
Area residents have been walking at the fairgrounds for many years now, members of the county fair board said. That made Friendship Park the perfect location for the first project of the Jefferson County Trails and Greenways Task Force.
The trails are a great addition to the park, and are expected to attract people from all parts of Jefferson County, as well as adjoining counties. That's a plus, according to Sue Hershey, president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, who pointed out Saturday that recreational trails help to improve the quality of life for area residents.
Thanks to the efforts of many area volunteers, including the task force and its chair, Mike Paprocki, and the fair board, including treasurer Debbie Hukill, the trails that opened Saturday will provide a much-needed outlet for hiking, biking, walking and physical therapy.