Old Frisco Trail renewed for future generations

The Frisco Railroad line was once a vital part of the infrastructure of LeFlore County. Now, the rails are gone, but the trail remains. Stretching from Poteau to Wister, the remnants of the old rail line have become a trail frequented by walkers, runners, and bike riders. Unfortunately, however, the trail also became neglected and was soon a popular place to dump garbage. Poteau marathon runner Josh Snyder,however, was not content to let the trail fall into disrepair and disuse.The Old Frisco Trail, which cuts through dense woodlands, is an ideal place for runners. In addition to a lack of traffic, the foliage that flanks most of the trail shields runners from the worst of Oklahoma windsand summer sun. Snyder, who operates Snyder Landscaping and Lawn Care, began to ply his trade to the trail, spraying weeds, mowing, and pruning trees. In a short time, Snyder transformed the trail, making regular maintenance a far, far less herculean task. To further improve the trail, the State of Oklahoma donated several tons of crushed asphalt to be applied to the trail. Sections of the trail had been nearly washed out during rains and the new roadbed, along with sandstone mile markers made the trail easier to navigate. Also, yellow stakes were placed at road crossings to make the trail safer. A four-foot-tall granite stonewas also placed at the entrance to the trail. The stone, engraved with the trail’s name, now welcomes visitors to use the improved thoroughfare. Most of the improvements made to the trail have been paid for or produced by local businesses and residents. Poteau resident B.J. Barnes helped to design a logo for the trail which would payhomage to its railroad history. The new the trail, but direct peopleto it so that more people can enjoy the unique community asset. “Before, the trail was out of sight, out of mind,” said Barnes, “But with thesigns up, people are talking about it.” The Old Frisco Trail has continued to garner friends and sponsors, and as a result is becoming more and more popular. “Four years ago, there was one man running inPoteau,” says Snyder. “Now there are 50 to 100 people regularly runningand biking. It’s definitely catching on.” As the trail sees more use, the community support for it continues to grow. All but a few milesof the trail that extend into Wister are in great shape, and with the efforts of local businesses and members of the community, Snyder says "I want people to know that there's more out here. We live in a beautiful area of eastern Oklahoma."