SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylaward Trail is a local recreational trail in Sylacauga. Many residents of Sylacauga and surrounding areas frequent the trail for exercise, fun, or to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

The trail is a 14.5 mile excursion through the beautiful forests of the Lake Howard area. It features many inclines, slopes, turns, and a scenic earthen dam. Many regulars of the trail follow the phrase: “If it’s not challenging enough, you’re going too slow.”

In 2008, a piece of land was designated to become a new 14.5 mile trail in the dense forest neighboring Lake Howard. Trails Unlimited, a company based out of California, was contracted to excavate and construct the trail. A three-man-crew with volunteers excavated using chainsaws, a mini excavator, and a SWECO mini trail dozier. The process took about two months to completely excavate and design the trail.

Once construction was complete, a contest was held to name the newly built trail. The participants of the contest were students from neighboring schools, Sylacauga and Comer. The winner of the contest was Spencer Gallops, a student of BB Comer Memorial Elementary School.

Many groups utilize Sylaward Trail for practice, entertainment, or to learn about mountain biking including Alabama’s chapter of NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association). It uses the trail for mountain biking practice. Many residents of Sylacauga and the surrounding areas also use the trail.

“The trail generates interest and appreciation of the outdoors.” says Laurie Wilbanks, a frequent user of the trail.

Over the last nine years, the trail has been a prideful icon of Sylacauga living. For the past three years, Sylaward Trail has been placed at #3 on www.singletracks.com’s list of the top tracks in Alabama. In addition, the trail has been placed at #1 for “Best beginner Tracks in Alabama.”

For many, the trail is a beloved location which the residents adore.

“[The trail] is a great venue to come enjoy the outdoors,” said Billy Beane, caretaker of the trail. “I only find maybe a handful of trash when I clean the trail.” He said those that use the trail have a great love and respect for nature, as well as the work that goes into keeping the trail in immaculate condition.

In 2018, the trail will celebrate its 10-year-anniversary. A large celebration will be held in its honor. Specific details are not yet in place.

Max Cleveland for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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