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NEW ALBANY, Miss. (WCBI) – Three North Mississippi counties are preparing to open a new recreational bike trail this weekend.

“It’s been 6 or 7 years we’ve been into this and it’s long. It’s kind of like waiting on Christmas and now it’s here,” says Betsey Hamilton, Chairman of the Board of Directors for GM&O Rails-to-Trails Recreational District.

The Tanglefoot Trail will officially open to the public on Saturday, September 21st. It will open 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 after sunset. The trail is 45 miles long and stretches throughUnion, Pontotoc and Chickasaw counties.

“It starts in New Albany and comes through Ecru, Ingomar, Pontotoc, Algoma, New Houlka and Houston. There are already some new small businesses that are springing up along the trail, so we expect it to be quite an impact in these communities in terms of recreation, tourism and hopefully commercial and economic development,” says Ronnie Bell of Three Rivers Planning & Development.

Businesses in downtown New Albany are already seeing an increase in customers.

“We’ve seen a lot of traffic in and out of the store because of it and it’s really going to be exciting for New Albany,” says Sonia Bailey of Sugarees Bakery.

Project officials say the community is buzzing about the Tanglefoot Trail and looking forward to more tourism and future events. Hamilton says the prospect of Mississippians improving people’s overall health is icing on the cake.

“Bicycling is wonderful, wonderful exercise. So yes, I think it’s going to have a tremendous impact on us,” says Hamilton.

Though the trail will open this Saturday, a portion of the trail is closed due to bridge work near Interstate 22-Highway 78.

For more information about the Tanglefoot Trail, call Three Rivers Planning and Development at 662-489-2415.

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