Hardin Co. hike and bike trail nearing completion

photo by Brandi Haskett

When walking along what will be the new hike and bike trail in Kountze, one can’t help but be mesmerized by colorful flowers and aromatic pines, along with the smell of sweet honeysuckle. The new hike and bike trail will be the perfect outdoor place for the residents of Kountze as well as cyclists from across the area. Eager locals will be excited to know that the completion of the new trail, which runs parallel with North Highway 69, is nearing completion. The paved path starts near Kountze Trade Days and cuts through the wooded area along the Big Thicket for nearly seven miles.

According to Sarah Dupre, public information officer for Texas Department of Transportation, the project, which broke ground Jan. 13, 2014, and cost approximately $2.7 million, is due to be completed at the end of this summer. The project was chosen by the Metropolitan Planning Organization and was funded by Texas Transportation Commission. Dupre says the commission believes the trail could reduce vehicle emissions by diverting traffic from the highway.

“The trail is being built to help the environment by encouraging people to bike, and walk more,” said Dupre. “We have already received great comments from the residents who have used the trail.”

The 10-foot wide trail will have plenty of room for families to bike together, or for someone who just wants to take in the beautiful scenery of the Big Thicket.

“The trail is a great opportunity for Kountze,” said City Administrator Rod Hutto. “It will bring in tourists that will support local businesses and will allow families to spend more time outside.”

The trail is expected to attract local bike enthusiasts as well as nature lovers who have been in need for a safe place to stroll and take a breath of fresh air.