Building a Trail-Jefferson County Trails Council
Sixteen Miles in only Fourteen Years: The Building of a Trail
Scroll down to see Building the Loop Trail, as displayed on the Loop Trail
The sixteen-mile Fairfield Loop Trail, which was fourteen years in the making, personifies community teamwork and partnerships. The Trail has become a crown jewel for Fairfield. With a variety of terrain and topographies, it meanders through prairies, woodlands, and wetlands, and around three lakes, connecting city and county parks.
In fact, you can think of it as a long, narrow, linear park -- a green space with a variety of adventures along the way. It is an experience unlike most trails.
The entire trail system (close to 30 miles) in the Fairfield area includes old railroad corridors, five artistically-enhanced bridges, paved and unpaved trails, walking-only trails, and state and local preserves.
The Fairfield Loop Trail project was first conceived in 1997 while Jefferson County and the City of Fairfield were identifying the development of trails as a priority. The private Jefferson County Trails Council was formed "to create an integrated trail system that will allow all citizens and visitors to enjoy the benefits of health, recreation, education, and safety."
The 16-mile Loop Trail was finally completed in the fall of 2011. At the dedication, more than 50 organizations and businesses were recognized for their ongoing collaboration and support to make this vision a reality.
Community partners included:
The Jefferson County Conservation Board had been the impetus for an expansion of trails in the area. They, along with the County Board of Supervisors, the County Assessor, the County Auditor, and the County Engineer's offices, offered support, knowledge, and specific expertise to promote and grow this project.
The City of Fairfield provided approximately $250,000 in revenue through Local Option Sales Tax funds, a much-needed source of grant-match dollars. In addition, the Mayor, City Council, staff, local administrator, and all city department heads were supportive and pro-active in providing manpower and recognizing the importance of the trail project.
Pathfinders RC&D, a local nonprofit organization, worked with the Jefferson County Trails Council officers, local government officials, and engineers to craft high quality grant applications which helped to fund a great portion of the trail project. The majority of Pathfinders services were provided free of charge.
More than 200 local businesses, from the largest employer to one-person offices, generously donated over $150,000 during the last decade. Many businesses sponsored specific projects or came before local governing bodies to express public support for the trail concept.
In 2007, Dexter Apache President and CEO, Patrick D. Albregts, commented, "We are delighted to be able to support this important Jefferson County recreational resource. Wellness and the health of our employees is a long term strategic priority for our business, and resources like the trail system are an excellent way for our employees and their families and all area residents to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. We look forward to the completion of the trail and supporting its improvement for many years to come."
Additionally, more than 20 Fairfield contractors and building-related services donated time and personnel over the years. Materials were often donated or discounted.
More than 125 volunteers provided thousands and thousands of hours building bridges, preparing trail routes, and maintaining and repairing trails. Among dozens of other tasks, they also met with community leaders, keeping them apprised of progress, goals, and challenges.
Enjoy the trails!