The project was created in 2005-2006 by the late Duty Rowe, who had the idea to construct a bikeway from Cache, through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the Town of Medicine Park, and on to the intersection of Highways 49 and 58. The bikeways appealed to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) because they would double as road shoulders (improving existing roads), and improve safety by separating bicyclists from cars. The first phase was planned as a three-mile bikeway from Cache to the Wildlife Refuge gate. The entire effort tied in well with the fitness theme inherent in Lawton Fit Kids: cycling is popular in the area, but there are very few safe areas available for riding groups. The Town of Medicine Park has been developing itself as a "wellness community", with bicycling and walking trails planned to reduce dependence on the automobile. The Wildlife Refuge wanted to promote better roadways and cycling safety. The fit was almost perfect. After a series of meetings, the project began as one that would fit a Federal-State grant program whose deadline was approaching. We discussed sponsorship of the project with Comanche County, received a match commitment of $150,000 from the Comanche County Industrial Development Trust, and submitted the application. The project was funded, and the Design Engineers were hired. Phase One from Cache at the Refuge south gate to the Refuge Visitor's Center has been completed. The Second phase from the Visitor's Center to Holy City is funded. We are presently in the process of seeking additional funds that will encompass the following proposed additions to the trail:
• Holy City to Meers
• Holy City to Medicine Park Gate
• Lake Elmer Thomas Fishing Dock over the Dam to LETRA
• The Medicine Park Museum of Natural Science Trail that will tie into both the LETRA trail & The Medicine Park Trailway
• Buffalo Trail loop around the base of Mount Scott
We are very excited about the possibilities of what this means for Comanche County, its visitors and the Fit Kids Program.