The benefits of taking the trail less traveled

Published 5:43 pm Friday, June 5, 2020

In 2017, the city of Vicksburg opened a walking trail at Halls Ferry Park.

There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony that attracted a crowd. There was then an inaugural walk on the trail that meanders its way around the tennis courts and ballfields at the park.

But in the nearly three years since it was opened, the trail — which is .88 of a mile — has either been forgotten by many or become a feature some never knew existed. City of Vicksburg Human Resources Director Fermika Smith was among the latter.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Smith said she did not know about the trail until talking with Rick Daughtry, the city of Vicksburg Parks and Recreation

“I found out about the walking trail at the Halls Ferry Park during a conversation with Rick,” Smith said. “We were discussing disc golf, and he mentioned the walking trail. I want to say that I remember someone saying something about a walking trail out at the park, but it was in passing. But, one thing I do know, is that I have never had anyone directly mention the walking trail to me or talk about it in conversation.”

Since then, Smith has taken the “extra step” in letting others now about the trail that is among Vicksburg’s many health and fitness assets.

Smith said her department has been working to raise health and fitness awareness among city employees and implement a well-being committee.

“And the walking trail is definitely something I wanted to share with those employees who may not have been aware of it,” she said.

Daughtry said the Halls Ferry walking trail features benches and two water stations, one to allow people to fill their water bottles and another that is handicap accessible.

“The trail is also very safe,” he said.

The walking trail was paid for in part by a federal Recreational Trails Program grant administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The grant, which is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, covered about 80 percent of the project, with the city paying the remaining 20 percent.

The city also received a commitment from My Brother’s Keeper to provide amenities like benches, signs and fitness stations along the trail.

As a city employee, Smith said one of her jobs is to advocate for the City of Vicksburg and to take advantage of every opportunity she has to showcase the amenities the city has to offer.

“This walking trail just happens to be one of many gems,” Smith said.

Smith said she plans on using the walking trail and encourages others to do the same.

“This is a great alternative for those who like to exercise outdoors and instead of always using the Military Park, come take a walk at the city’s walking trail,” Smith said. “I think it’s important to have different options and the walking trail is just that — another option.”

Halls Ferry Park, which is located near Home Depot, opens each day at 7 a.m.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart