Pine Belt Leadership work with community to light up Longleaf Trace

Pine Belt Leadership work with community to light up Longleaf Trace
(Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Running, walking, or biking is therapeutic for many of us here in the Pine Belt, but it is difficult if you can't quite see your path.

The Leadership Pine Belt, an umbrella group under the Area Development Partnership, has created a team dedicated to lighting the Longleaf Trace.

Those on that board said the Greater Hattiesburg staple will be safer with these new additions.

Whether lacing up their sneakers, or hitting the track with their bikes, over 100,000 residents and visitors of the Hattiesburg area enjoy the premier rails to trails conversion covering 41 miles of south Mississippi.

"The Longleaf Trace is vital to this community," said Logan Grubbs, a member on the Leadership Pine Belt team.

"We started riding because of health and needing to take care of cardiac issues and have been riding for a few years now," said Glenn Edwards, a biker.

Since then, it's been extended out to Southern Miss and Downtown Hattiesburg, but at a certain point and at a certain time, the lights leading you down the trail run out.

"It would be nice if it were lit up. It really would," Edwards said.

The lighting the Longleaf Trace campaign is strapping up for a race of their own.

The 5K Glow Run will bring awareness for the need for light on the heavily used trail. Glow sticks and clothing are planned to illuminate the trail as it should be on a regular basis.

"We really want people to feel safe, and we think visibility is the most important thing in terms of safety," Grubbs said.

The group realizes that as school approaches, more students will utilize the trail to commute to and from school.

"I think anything done to help improve the trace would be outstanding," Edwards said.

The team is calling local businesses to chip in, too. In return fro sponsoring the light poles, their business names will be posted on the light poles for ten years.

"It's 1,500 dollars, and you can sponsor a light pole," said Steve Clark, a member of Leadership Pine Belt.

The team is encouraging safety, health, and community co-action as the project aims to continue the Longleaf Trace's progress.

If you'd like to lace up and participate in the Glow Run, it's on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. starting at the USM Gate Longleaf Trace. You can donate money as well.

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