The Atakapa-Ishak Trail is a multi-phased, multi-use trail that will ultimately connect Lafayette to the nearby communities of Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville. The Trail is named in honor of the Atakapa-Ishak Indian Tribe who inhabited the SE Texas and SW Louisiana coastal region, including the prairies from St. Martinville to Opelousas. Phase I of the AI Trail will consist of Shared Roadway, a Bike Lane and a Shared Sidewalk (for both bikes and pedestrians) and will connect downtown Lafayette to Beaver Park and the Vermilion River.
As of December 13, 2011 the trail is open for use and Phase 2 is under way! Bike Lanes, shared road pavement markings and signage have been installed. Please check back with us for more information on its Grand Opening which is set to take place sometime in Spring 2012. For more information on Phase 1 and 2 along with a map, click here
Trail begins to take first steps
A 25-mile multi-purpose trail covering parts of Lafayette and St. Martin parishes is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Outdoor enthusiasts joined with local officials and members of Transportation Recreational Alternatives in Louisiana (T.R.A.I.L.) in downtown Lafayette on Saturday to officially inaugurate the Atakapas-Ishak Trail.
Through the Community Foundation of Acadiana, the group has helped raise funds for construction of the trail, which will give bicyclists, joggers, hikers, walkers and others the chance to traverse a path around Lafayette, northeast to Breaux Bridge and then south to St. Martinville. A $10,000 check for the project was presented to Lafayette officials during the inauguration.
"It's been a very long time coming," said Lafayette businessman Scott Schilling, who has led the effort. Schilling said discussions about the project started about five years ago, so seeing the first phase of construction is a milestone.
"We've had outstanding support from the local community, the officials and the businesses," he said. "This is the first baby step in a major project. This is something that is going to stand out in the Gulf Coast region."
Bicyclist and T.R.A.I.L. member Bradley Black said she's looking forward to other aspects of the project, including trail signs, Share the Road signs and shared lane markings encouraging drivers to have respect for others using the road.
"The day that we see all of that will feel really good," Black said. "That's one part that people are really excited about."
Black said the trail itself will be a unique asset to the Acadiana region and will give tourists another way to see parts of the area when they visit.
"There's not a whole lot like it in the state or this region," she said. "The area is so beautiful, and this will give people more access to the countryside and all parts of our community. I think it's going to help promote public health and give people one more thing to do here."
The trail is being built in phases, and construction on the first phase, from Parc Sans Souci to Beaver Park, should begin within the next couple of weeks.