New Cliff Cave trail officially opens in Oakville

The community will have a chance to view improvements within Cliff Cave County Park, such as the trail seen above, at a
ribbon cutting on May 4. Residents can enjoy a host of activities on May 6.

 

A new $4.3 million Cliff Cave County Park trail extension in Oakville is set to officially open next week.

Great Rivers Greenway and St. Louis County Parks are inviting area residents to celebrate the opening of the 2-mile Mississippi Greenway expansion at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, May 4, and Community Celebration on Sunday, May 6.

The expanded greenway makes it possible for people of all ages and abilities to explore and enjoy the upper and lower sections of the park and provides two new connections for area residents to access the park.

“The new greenway has made Cliff Cave Park more accessible for walking, riding a bike, pushing a stroller or using a wheelchair,” County Executive Steve Stenger said in a news release. “We encourage the community to join us on May 4 and May 6 as we celebrate the improvements to this treasured St. Louis County park.”

 The project extends the existing 5-mile paved greenway that runs along the Mississippi River two miles up the bluff to a new scenic overlook, while also providing a direct path for residents to walk or bike to the park from Telegraph Road.

A new parking lot north of the existing entrance on Cliff Cave Road provides additional parking and restrooms for visitors, and a paved connection links the new parking lot to the scenic overlook. A 210-foot pedestrian bridge was installed over Cliff Cave Road to connect residents to the other side of the park and scenic overlook.

A separate new 70-foot pedestrian bridge allows residents to cross over the creek that flows from the mouth of Cliff Cave on the new greenway linking the upper and lower sections of the park. In addition to the paved greenway and bridges, the expansion features seating for people to stop and rest, and more than a thousand new native trees, shrubs, sedges and flowers to restore and boost the native ecology of the greenway.

 “The expanded greenway allows people of all ages and abilities to see everything this incredible park has to offer,” Great Rivers Greenway CEO Susan Trautman said in a news release. “From the soaring bluffs and wooded hillsides, to the breathtaking views of the Mississippi River — Cliff Cave Park’s natural beauty is more accessible for all to explore and enjoy.”

 Area residents can see the recently completed greenway and other park improvements at two community events in early May. At 10 a.m. on Friday, May 4, project partners, contractors and elected officials will officially open the new greenway with a ribbon cutting at the new overlook at Cliff Cave Park. Immediately following the ribbon cutting, all are welcome to explore the new greenway.

 On Sunday, May 6, residents are invited to a Community Celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. in the lower parking lot of Cliff Cave Park. People can choose to participate in a host of free activities and explore the new paved greenway, amenities, and existing trails within the park.

The free Community Celebration activities include the following:

• 2 p.m. – Yoga on the Mississippi River: Yoga Buzz will lead a yoga class on the Mississippi River near the lower pavilion. Bring a yoga mat or towel.

• 2:30 p.m. –  Hiking Class: REI representatives will lead a 45-minute hiking class to showcase the paved greenway and other trails in the park.

• 3 p.m. –  Nature Walk:  Residents can take part in a 30-minute nature walk to learn more about the unique history and natural features found in Cliff Cave Park.

Residents can stop by any time between 2 and 4 p.m. for music, yard games and bubbles. The Kona Ice and Walk Away Waffle Food Trucks will give away free snow cones and waffles to the first 250 visitors.  Bikes and helmets will be available to rent by the hour from City Cycling Tours of St. Louis.

Editor’s note: In a future issue, the Call will look back at the events leading up to the construction of the trail, including a lawsuit from nearby residents and 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas’ allegations that the county did not follow proper procedure.

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