Nature enthusiasts crossed a new bridge on Tuesday after the opening of Tallahassee’s Canopy Walkway.
The walkway overlaps the CSX Railroad tracks and connects the Lafayette Heritage Trail Park and Leon County’s J.R. Alford Greenway. Before its completion, many trail walkers and hikers trekked through unpaved paths to reach the nearby parks.
Dozens of citizens showed up to be the first to walk the new bridge and participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Participants enjoyed music, complimentary trail mix and free shuttles from the parking lot.
Karen Berkley, a retired neuroscience professor, said she is excited about the possibilities the new walkway will bring.
“This is fabulous,” Berkley said. “Worth all the money because it’s going to bring in more than it’s worth.”
Berkley, a member of the Florida Native Plant Society, said the addition of the new bridge will help increase environmental awareness among children. She said she walks the Lafayette Park trail and is excited about having access to different areas.
Wayne Tedder, a Blueprint 2000 employee, praised the one-cent sales tax for its support of projects such as the Canopy Walkway.
“This is just an incredible place in our community,” Tedder said. “It creates an entirely new experience for our citizens just by simply connecting, in a very unique and incredible way, the greenways that we have in our community.”
Sarah Wilson, a member of the Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association, believes the bridge is significant “because of the progress and the commitment that it represents to the community to being outdoors and being active in Tallahassee,” she said
Tallahassee is home to more than eight trails and parks and a growing biking community.
“The opening of this bridge showcases something that we have known in the mountain biking community for a very long time, and that is that Tallahassee is one of the premiere trail destinations in the southeast,” Wilson said.
The Canopy Walkway was a seven-year project that cost approximately $1.3 million. A federal recreational trails grant, Blueprint 2000 and the city’s sales tax extension dollars funded the 70,000-ton bridge.