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After weather washed out the first attempt, Radcliff and Fort Knox partnered Monday morning to unveil the new Saunders Springs Annex off Wilson Road at Saunders Springs Nature Preserve.
During the short ceremony, Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall unveiled a decorative quilt square display beside the log cabins near the preserve entrance while Col. Bruce Jenkins, Fort Knox garrison commander, promoted the deepening relationship between the city and post.
While unveiling the quilt pattern, which represents the cabin symbol, Duvall joked about the reactions it has garnered from residents since it was posted a few weeks ago.
“They think it’s a target when they come down Wilson Road,” Duvall said, noting its resemblance to a bulls-eye.
The annex itself is home to between 6 and 8 miles of joint-use trails for hiking, biking and running as well as single-use trails tailored specifically to biking.
In all, there are eight named trails planned for the annex, a welcome center under development and a mountain bike skills development area, according to a preserve brochure.
Duvall during the ceremony told the small crowd the annex’s inception was set in motion a few years ago once the city realized the land was not part of the preserve but belonged to Fort Knox. Because it was wedged between Walmart and the preserve, the city approached post officials about donating the land for use. In response, Fort Knox leased 73 acres for the city to expand its trails system and improve quality of life for the area.
Jenkins said the expansion of Saunders Springs is another way for the two entities to team up and make a better community for everyone.
“This is just another example of what Radcliff is doing here to improve quality of life,” he said.
Jenkins said the post has developed a new trails system of its own, and he has encouraged those within the community to visit Fort Knox and peruse its amenities.
“We don’t see a gate anymore,” he said.
At the same time, Jenkins said soldiers are encouraged to leave post and explore the surrounding communities for leisure and entertainment.
“I’m very excited about this,” Jenkins said. “I’m already thinking about what we can do next.”
Adrian Bambini, chairman of the Radcliff Forestry Board, said the trails and annex were developed solely by the hands of volunteers with around 3,600 volunteer hours being logged through the first nine months that he knows of. The numbers are sure to be higher, he said, because some volunteers come in and help without alerting anyone.
Bambini said the preserve has received help from numerous sources, including local high schools and middle schools, Hardin County Detention Center inmate crews, the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Mountain Biking Association as some examples.
Bambini said the forestry board also has been assisted by the purchase of a Kawasaki Mule to haul supplies and materials and the donation of supplies needed to build the trails by the city.
The trail system is free to the public and open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year, weather allowing. The new trails link with existing trails or the roads system within the preserve.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous back there,” Bambini said, pointing to the annex and inviting visitors to take a look. “Just watch out for deer.”
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.