Big River Strategic Initiative

Big River Strategic Initiative

Postby santacruzer » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:38 am

We were given the opportunity to ride the unopened Mississippi River Levee from West Memphis to Marianna AR yesterday. The Levee is part of the Big River Strategic Initiative that will open the 670 miles of gravel levees from here to New Orleans. The first phase is the section we rode. The first 30 miles have around 50 locked gates that we had to unlock and lock back behind us, the next 35 miles are actually a Lee County road and open to traffic. There are plans to install pedestrian/bike gates to make access possible
We saw cattle, horses, donkeys, fox, raccoons, deer, cattle egrets, white egrets, heron and one dead armadillo. The Levee is compacted gravel and is as flat a road as you will find, and will be a great alterative when the trails are a mess in the winter and you want to ride with no traffic

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cattle egrets.jpg
cattle egrets.jpg (219.08 KiB) Viewed 7309 times

cows.jpg (203.09 KiB) Viewed 7309 times

hay.jpg (205.58 KiB) Viewed 7309 times

donkey.jpg (242.51 KiB) Viewed 7311 times
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Re: Big River Strategic Initiative

Postby mark43 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:33 am

Awesome. Is there a timetable for any of the sections to open, or is the plan to open everything at once?
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Re: Big River Strategic Initiative

Postby santacruzer » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:32 pm

The section from Horseshoe Lake to Marianna is open, it's about 35 miles.
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Re: Big River Strategic Initiative

Postby MAXLESS » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:17 pm

To give more info on the Levees
The Levee roads in Lee County are county Roads, open to the public.
One could have theoretically ridden these years ago (some did)

From West Memphis to Horseshoe, the levees are gated.
We are working with the Levee board to modify the existing gates.
The gates need to stay in place, to keep the cattle in, and the cars and trucks out.

Once we have a design that works for the Levee Board and land owners,
we will have to find funds to pay for the modifications.

But the fact that the St. Francis Levee Board is working with us is amazing!
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Re: Big River Strategic Initiative

Postby santacruzer » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:11 am

I used the Levee’s for a camping trip this weekend, the section from West Memphis to Horseshoe Lake has locked gates so I needed to skip that portion and it’s a bit of a complicated route to get to Horseshoe on the road. It just so happened that the Flatlanders ride left from West Memphis at 8:30 and headed the exact route that I wanted to follow so the plan was set. I left at 5AM from Bartlett down Germantown Rd, to the Wolf River Trails where I was surprised to see people out running the trails before sunrise.

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I used the Greenline, Overton Park, and bike lanes to make my way downtown to head over the “old bridge”. Once you get in Arkansas it’s a convoluted route to actually get to Pancho’s where the ride started. After being stopped by an Arkansas Game Warden on one of the little gravel roads I made it to where the Flatlander metric century ride started.
There were around 120 riders for the inaugural flatlander ride, we had a police escort for the whole route to Horseshoe and the pace was a little fast since I was on a single speed crossbike. Somehow I hung on to where I had planned to turn off to hit the 35 miles of gravel on the levee that meanders toward Marianna Arkansas

Midway Lake
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The Mississippi River State Park is located at the southern tip of Crowley’s ridge with Big Creek Lake right in the middle of it. It was an excellent place to camp, very scenic and only one other campsite of the 30 occupied. My wife eventually met me there with all the supplies for a nice camping trip!

camping3.jpg (275.31 KiB) Viewed 7021 times

Here's the route:
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Re: Big River Strategic Initiative

Postby KenG » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:16 am

Very cool way to end a long ride.

Thanks for the pics. Sunrise at the arch is awesome!
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