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Frisco Highline Trail Celebrates 20th Anniversary Saturday, Oct. 11

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The mayors from every town along the trail (Bolivar, Morrisville, Wishart, Walnut Grove, Willard and Springfield) met at the geographic mid-point to cut the ribbon for opening day, September 19, 2005.

The mayors from every town along the trail (Bolivar, Morrisville, Wishart, Walnut Grove, Willard and Springfield) met at the geographic mid-point to cut the ribbon for opening day, September 19, 2005.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, Ozark Greenways celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Frisco Highline Trail at the Willard Trailhead, 515 E. Jackson St., Willard, Mo., with a brief program, including the dedication of the TransAmerica Bike Route 76. The program was followed by self-guided trail tours, live blues music with “Blue Plate Special,” and a cookout presented by the Willard Lion’s Club and Andy’s Frozen Custard.

The anniversary celebration also included a guided 35-mile tour of the Frisco Highline and the TransAmerica Bike Route 76, Saturday beginning at the Willard Trailhead, led by David Hutchison, bicycle and pedestrian engineer with Springfield Public Works. Since 2006 the Frisco Highline Trail has be designated as a National Recreation Trail by the National Park Service and American Trails.

Ozark Greenways took the first step in creating the Frisco Highline Trail in 1994 by purchasing the first section of the former Frisco railroad corridor. Today, the Frisco Highline is Missouri’s second longest rail-trail (the Katy Trail is the longest), transecting 35-miles of scenic Ozarks landscape and connecting Springfield, Willard, Walnut Grove, Bolivar and sites between.

Compared with other trails in the area, the Frisco Highline is relatively flat, appealing to walkers, runners, cyclists and commuters of all ages and abilities.

Highlights of the Frisco Highline Trail include:

  • 16 railroad trestles, including the beautiful stone 1886 Little Sac River Bridge.
  • The trail passes through La Petite Gemme Prairie, one of Missouri’s few native public prairies.
  • In 1948, President Harry Truman rode a train along this corridor in preparation for his Whistle Stop Tour.
  • TransAmerica Bike Route 76, part of the National Bicycle Route System, bisects the Frisco Highline in Walnut Grove.
  • A relatively even grade, with 1/3 of the trail surface is paved, 2/3 crushed gravel.
  • Bolivar’s historic City Hall and Square.
  • Abundant wildlife, both flora and fauna.

For a Frisco Highline Trail map or more information, visit or call Ozark Greenways at 417-864-2014.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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