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Fitness trail complete

Thursday, August 14, 2008

(Photo)
Bergin Shelby, Taylor Tate and MacKenzie Tate try their luck on the balancing beam at the new Fitness Trail at Mammoth Spring City Park. Photo by Jan Thompson
MAMMOTH SPRING -- All that is left to complete the fitness trail at Mammoth Spring City Park is the signs at some stations that explain what that specific piece of equipment will do.

The fitness trail at the Mammoth Spring City Park is made up of stations for exercising the body and to promote good health. Some fitness trails are natural but the one at Mammoth Spring is of man made materials.

The difficulty of fitness trails depends on the terrain slope. The trail at the city park is not on an even terrain and all of the stations are not in a complete row because of the hill in the park. Some fitness trails include walking trails. This one does not.

The fitness trail is the dream of Mayor Jean Pace. "I was in Philadelphia in 2002 and saw one in a park. I wanted one for our city park but knew the city didn't have the money," Pace said. The mayor said she thought it would be a great addition to the park and something families could do together.

The first fitness trail was invented in 1968 by Swiss architect Erwin Wekemann in Switzerland. The idea caught on fast and by the mid-1970s fitness trails were popping up all over the United States. The trail at Mammoth Spring City Park is the only one in this area

In 2004, Mammoth Spring Elementary teacher Lana Steed came to the mayor with an interest in her students doing some type of project that would be long lasting. The project was an economics project. The fourth graders in her class made a healthy granola and sold it to other students at recess. The mayor even went to school several times and helped them sell their product.

"Her students raised $118 and donated it for us to buy the first piece of equipment for the fitness trail," Pace said.

Other donations for the project include: Mammoth Spring Lodge sold chances on two nights in Branson and donated the funds they made to buy a piece for the fitness trail; a piece of the trail was donated by the Mammoth Spring High School Honor Society that cost $200; two of the pieces were built by the Mammoth Spring High School Agriculture Department; one piece was donated by Mammoth Spring city employees; and the city bought the climbing wall and vault bar for the fitness trail.

Pace said in all the fitness trail consists of a vault bar, horizonal bar, pole climb, parallel bar, balance beam, set-up station, climbing wall and dome climber.

Pace said she did know what some of the pieces of the fitness trail were suppose to do. The vault bar is designed to improve agility and strengthen the upper body. The horizonal bar and the pole climb will build strong arm, shoulder and stomach muscles. The parallel bars improves balance and also strengthens arm and shoulder muscles. The balance beam helps improve balance and coordination.

"All the pieces are designed to help strengthen the body, improve balance and coordination," the mayor said.

The mayor said she knew once Steed's class started the project the community would join in. "The people of Mammoth Spring have always been very supportive of projects that our city budget can't afford," she said. Some of those projects include landscaping, city banners and the baseball field.

"This fitness trail is not just for children, it's for adults also. It is not a machine, you have to use your body," Pace said. She said as far as she knew the school had no plans to use the trail on a regular basis but were more than welcome to do so if they wanted to. She said currently there are no plans to expand the trail except for adding the signs at the stations that explain what that station does to promote physical fitness.

The mayor said the fitness trail is definitely an asset to the Mammoth Spring City Park.

"This is where adults can get into shape at no cost and children can just have fun," she said.



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