(Note: The Roadkill Run scheduled for October 10, 2015 has been cancelled.)
In Hancock Co. MS, the Possum Walk Trail opened over a year ago as a graded dirt trail connecting the cemetery at the historic Logtown town site with the parking lot at the NASA Infinity Science Center 3.2 miles to the northeast. To ready the trail for electric trams that will carry Science Center tourists on nature treks on the trail in 2016, work began resurfacing the dirt trail with crushed stone in September. By Oct. 3 the work on the trail has progressed to the point users are now allowed back on the trail, though a short stretch near the boardwalk at the Logtown end of the trail still needs to be graded and resurfaced.
While the dirt surface was fine for walkers, runners, equestrians and the occasional golf cart, the soft dirt made riding a bicycle on the trail dicey. Even bicycle wheels with fat tires would sink into the powdered dirt making it difficult to steer without falling. Bicyclists had hoped the new crushed stone surface would open the trail to bicycle use by providing a harder surface to ride on.
The new surface is worse than the dirt. The coarsely crushed stone sits loose, like gravel, providing less traction for a bicycle tire than the dirt. And falling on the crushed stone could be more painful than falling on the dirt.
Until the stone is pounded into the dirt and made smooth by the tires of the electric tourist trams, (and other motorized vehicles using the trail), runners, walkers and hikers will have to be careful to avoid falling on the loose rocks. If planning to walk the trail, popular with birdwatchers, be sure to wear sturdy shoes offering good ankle support.
The trams themselves could be a hazard when they are introduced into the mix of trail users. A tram ride is included with every admission to the Science Center--adults $12. How often will they run? The trail is not that wide. Trams will have to be equipped with a warning device to alert walkers who will have to move to the edge of the trail and walk single-file to allow the tram to pass. The trail may be wide enough for two trams to pass abreast but it will be a tight squeeze. Other trail users will probably have to step off the trail to allow room.