PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Wednesday morning, Panama City Beach held the grand opening for a new segment of Gayle’s trails.
The concept first came to light in 1998.
“The idea was kind of based on a study that Bay County did about 25 years ago,” Gayle Oberst said. “And in that study, it determined we lived in a beautiful place and we better start thinking about how we were going to save that beautiful place.”
Now the system of gravel and asphalt walkways spans nearly 30 miles of Panama City Beach.
“We’re trying to connect up a trail from Walton County to Panama City, basically, and from the West End around Lake Powell to the Hathaway Bridge,” Panama City Beach Council Member Paul Casto said.
In February, the city received $2.6 million from the Florida Department of Transportations Suntrails Grant Program to help cover the cost of the new multi-use east trail.
The new segment starts here at Arnold High School and extends a mile and a half to the Breakfast Point sub-development.
The trail is 12 feet wide and has a boardwalk that stretches over wetlands.
Oberst served 16 years on the City Council, the last 10 as Mayor.
While she originally proposed the trails, she says many others worked hard to make Gayle’s trails a reality.
“I always tell people that it’s not that I’m Gayle’s trials,” Oberst said. “What it is, is we are Gayle’s Trails. It’s been a community effort with the organizations, with it, with the businesses, the landowners and all of our agencies. So it’s a joint effort, and I hope that I’m here to see the next big space that opens up.”
The trails are open for walking, running, and cycling.
Motorized transportation, like golf carts, are not permitted.