America’s Rails-with-Trails
Frisco Trail
Fayetteville, Arkansas
miles constructed (including 0.4 mile of rail-with-
trail) between 2008 and 2010.
Just over a mile long, the Frisco Trail is a relatively
short trail, and the rail-with-trail portion is less than half a
mile. However, the trail runs remarkably close to the active
railroad tracks—just two feet away at some points—as it
courses through downtown Fayetteville. The trains on the adja-
cent tracks are operated by a short line railroad which primarily
runs excursion tourist trains on the corridor but also maintains
infrequent freight service. The community has rallied around
the trail, with one trail-front coffee shop already open and a new
apartment building with direct trail access under construction.
After initially expressing hesitation, Arkansas & Missouri Rail-
road is generally satisfied with the trail design and occasionally
uses the trail to directly board their trains. One of the most
significant benefits of the trail is that where intoxicated revelers
once walked on the railroad tracks through Fayetteville’s enter-
tainment district, they now use the Frisco Trail.
After more than two years of negotiation, the City of
Fayetteville signed a 99-year lease with Arkansas & Missouri
Railroad. The lease, which did not include any payment to the
railroad, stipulated that the City of Fayetteville must build a
fence between the tracks and the trail, install a roof over the
trail where it passes under the tracks to prevent debris falling
from trains onto trail users, and purchase comprehensive insur-
ance. The city also purchased six acres of right-of-way from
BNSF Railway for more than $70,000. This additional land
had not been transferred to the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad
when they originally acquired the corridor. The Frisco Trail is
feet wide and the surface transitions from asphalt to con-
crete. Trail design and construction were paid for entirely by a
city bond issued in 2006.
A short non-rail-with-trail extension of the Frisco
Trail is in the planning phase, and will soon take trail users
under a busy boulevard. The Frisco Trail, along with all other
trails in Fayetteville’s comprehensive system, is regularly patrolled
by a group of volunteers known as Trail Trekkers. The City
of Fayetteville’s Trails Coordinator emphasizes that, when
negotiating with a railroad company, persistence is key. More
information is available on the City of Fayetteville’s website:
Matt Mihalevich, Trails Coordinator, City of Fayetteville)