By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley Trails Phase 1 construction project is nearing completion. Paving on the project was completed last week and Clark County officials are expecting to do a final walk-through inspection this week.
The new trail system includes about 3.5 miles of trails in the Logandale area between Grant Bowler Elementary School and Moapa Valley High School.
Phase 1 of the trails system has been built with Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA) funds. The project has cost a total of $2 million.
Walking and biking trails have been constructed along Whipple Ave. east of Moapa Valley Blvd. South from Whipple, the trails extend along Lyman and Heyer with east/west connections at Frehner and Gubler. The Gubler piece extends further east to St. Joseph and a trail on the east side of St. Joseph leads to the high school.
The sidewalks around the high school have been updated to bring it in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As part of the project, fencing has been added in areas around the east fairground parking lot and also along the south side of Frehner at the ballfield complex. Matthews said that this measure should regulate parking and traffic during the Clark County Fair.
“In the past, we’ve seen people just parking all along the shoulder of the roadway along Frehner,” said Bob Matthews of Clark County Public Works who designed the trail system. “So pedestrians along that street coming into the Fair had to walk pretty much in the street. This should relieve some of that safety hazard.”
Park benches will be added at nine locations spread throughout the trail system including two around the fairgrounds, two on Heyer, two on Lyman near the Logandale Cemetery, two on Gubler Ave. and one on St. Joseph, Matthews said.
An important component of the new trails system is a segment which has been especially dedicated for Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use. The area crossing the valley along the north side of Whipple is the first OHV trail in all of Clark County.
“We set a lot of precedent with that one,” Matthews said. “The local Town Board up there had told us that they really liked the idea of allowing people to travel by quad and be able to access the various desert areas beyond. This is a step in that direction.”
For the most part, the OHV trail remains a gravel trail. But a special dust palative material has been applied to minimize dust flying up from ATVs in the neighborhood.
Other than this OHV segment along Whipple Ave., though, the remainder of the trail system is meant only for pedestrians and bicycles. Local Metro officers say that they have already had issues arise where ATVs were riding on other parts of the trail system while people were trying to jog or ride bicycles on them. Officers are concerned about the potential safety hazards that this causes.
“I think our Officers have done a good job using the discretion given to us by law in finding a balance between public safety and the rural lifestyle we enjoy in this community as it relates to ATV’s,” said local Metro officer Cory Estes. “However, the rules governing the new multi-use trails are pretty specific. Motorized vehicles of any kind are not permitted on the multi-use trails. A person biking, jogging or walking on the trails shouldn’t have to worry about getting hit by an ATV or any other motorized vehicle.”
Estes restated that the only appropriate place for ATVs within the new trail system is the OHV dedicated area along the north side of Whipple. But he also cautioned OHV riders about safety procedures in getting on and off of that trail.
“ATV’s are permitted to cross the adjacent streets, including Moapa Valley Blvd, but must yield the right of way to vehicles on those adjacent streets,” Estes said. “The ATV’s using this trail must also obey the traffic control signs posted along the route.”
While there have been some rough plans for a phase 2 of the Moapa Valley trails system, there is no funding available to pursue the next phase, Matthews said.
A couple of possibilities have been discussed for phase 2. One of them was an idea to build a trail from Whipple north up Paiute Street leading to a trail looping around Bowman Reservoir. Another idea was to connect Phase 1 at Gubler Ave. with a trail running up and down the length of the Muddy River flood channel.
“We built phase 1 so that it could connect to subsequent phases,” Matthews said. “But there is currently no funds available for it, so there are no specific plans yet for phase 2.”