It took $575,000 of recyclables, nearly three years of planning and months of moving earth, but Fort Campbell now has a new 2.4 mile-trail on post to give those on the north end of the installation a place to run, bike or walk.
The project was paid for through the Qualified Recycling Program that sells recyclables collected on post to pay for quality of life improvements on the installation, said Rob Anderson, QRP manager.
“It starts at the intersection of Adams Drive and Teeter Street, and runs along the wood line heading east toward the wall that separates Fort Campbell from U.S. Highway 41A. Then it makes a left hand turn up around the wall, pretty much heading north,” Anderson said. “There’s a nice open, grassy field between the wall and the housing area and then it comes into a pine tree area with a lot of big evergreens planted along the wall and it goes right down the middle. It’s really cool.”
From there, the trail continues running parallel with the wall until the Gate 5 area, where users can cross the street and the path continues along the wall, before veering to the left just before Gate 6 where the trail leads west and intersects with a playground area.
“You could actually walk it from the park at Gate 6 to the Express or the Town Center,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t actually tie into any other trails, except for the sidewalks.”
The project was approved by Col. Joseph Kuchan, former garrison commander, who also was the Qualified Recycling Program chairman at the time.
“It was something that was started when Col. Kuchan was here because we needed to expand our nature trails and he wanted to see something up on that side of the installation to benefit the Family members and Soldiers who live there,” Anderson said. “The previous nature trail benefits the Gate 10 area.”
Eventually, Anderson hopes to expand the installation’s trail system even more with segments that could lead all the way to Clarksville Base.
“It will be easy for us to expand upon,” he said. “It’s not a dead end. This thing could go even further on out to Market Garden, if they so desire in the future, just by adding a few more sections to it.”
After that, it would be possible for users to get to many areas without driving by walking the trails.
“If we can get it out to Market Garden then there’s endless possibilities, because you’ve got the Soldier Trail out there along the ranges that takes you all the way to Clarksville base,” Anderson said. “That was the meaning behind this. This thing can get very big and we had to start somewhere and now we are on our way.”
Although the construction planning started more than two years ago, Anderson was surprised that it was not delayed after the COVID-19 pandemic led many to work remotely.
Survey work started in February and workers started dirt work in March.
“The contractor came in and it’s not a large company and they were able to social distance while they were out there doing this,” Anderson said. “It was all outdoors and they were able to move right on through and not have any delays.”
Benches, trash cans and trail markers will be added at some point, he said.
The trail project shows the benefits of recycling, Anderson said. The Qualified Recycling Program funded all the work because Fort Campbell sells the recyclables it can rather than paying to have them placed in a landfill.
“That money came from nowhere else,” he said. “If recycling didn’t exist on Fort Campbell to the extent that we do exist here, that project probably would not have received any money and probably would have never became a project.”
Recycling dollars come from item ranging from aluminum cans to ammo cans and the spent brass from the ranges.
“Any time we can do an enhancement or an improvement to a facility on Fort Campbell to make off-duty life better for Soldiers and their Family members or retirees, it is a good thing,” Anderson said.