Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

July 19, 2012

Hiking and biking

Visitor center a plus for Lotito Park

— — The popular hiking and biking trails at Bluefield’s Lotito Park are being well utilized by area residents. That’s why the addition of a new visitor information center for the trail system should help to further enhance the recreational experience for those who hike, bike and walk at city park.

The new visitor center was moved to Lotito Park Tuesday morning. It will serve as a trailhead and information center for the trails at city park. The new building is one of several initiatives planned to help showcase the trails at city park, according to Mickey Pellillo, chair of the Bluefield Recreational Trails Committee.

The committee is hoping to add brochures for visitors, scavenger hunts for kids and a meeting place for guided hikes. They may also offer bike helmet rentals in the future.

There are currently between 12 to 15 miles of trails at Lotito Park.

“We are hoping to have our own little presence so people can see where the trails are,” Pellillo said. “We are going to put up more signs and let people know what is available to them in the park. The building will be going in our access parking lot across from the Yakkity-Yak playground.”

Those in the region who have not yet walked, hiked or biked the trails at Lotito Park should consider doing so now while the weather is still nice outside. A great starting point is the Family Friendly Trail, which extends only 1.1 miles long and is the widest and easiest of the trails at city park. It includes nature signs, benches and picnic tables for people to enjoy. More advanced trails also are available for those who are looking for a longer, and more challenging, hike.

“I know there are a lot of runners and mountain bikers in the area who take advantage of the trails,” Pellillo said. “We have mountain bike groups that meet up there and ride one day a week. In the last three or four years we’ve had a big mountain bike race in the park every May, and the mountain bikers really like the trails as well. We are hoping to open up the Family Friendly Trail to snowshoers in the winter time as well. It is great for exercise and physical fitness and general health.”

We agree. Regardless of whether you are walking, hiking or biking, the trails at Lotito Park provide a great summer workout. We encourage those who have not yet tried the trails to please consider doing so.

And while you are at Lotito Park, don’t forget about all of the other recreational opportunities that are available, including the Yakkity-Yak playground and the Ridge Runner.

And don’t forget to take in a game of the Bluefield Blue Jays while you are there. The race for the Mercer Cup is now officially underway. So now is a great time to see our two local teams — the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Princeton Rays — in action against each other.

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