The Ruby Jack Trail connects communities of Carthage, Oronogo, and Carl Junction, and now the trail’s extension is completed, creating a trail total of 14 miles. A Ruby Jack Trail Jamboree will take place Saturday, October 10 to celebrate the trail extension’s completion.
The trail is a rail-to-trail project compacted with limestone gravel that welcomes cyclists, runners, walkers, and more. The Jamboree is free to the public, starting with a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. at County Road 270—northeast Carl Junction, near highway 171. There will be a food truck at the midpoint in Oronogo, along with live music from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s just going to give a longer trail, more trail options for the area,” said Braden Horst, Joplin Trails Coalition president. “You know, some people want a longer trail, bicyclists especially want a longer trail. … (It connects) pretty much from highway 43—Missouri highway 43. It continues west, the new section, up to the highway 171. And there is a parking lot at County Road 270.”
Horst said they have gotten positive feedback about the trail extension, but the trail is not completely finished yet.
“… We’ve got still two more miles left to do—OK, we don’t have any dates on that yet, but we’ve got a 14-mile trail that comes out of Carthage, through Oronogo, and through Carl Junction,” Horst said.
The project cost a total of $130,000, but the Joplin Trails Coalition had some assistance by receiving a grant.
“… The engineering started probably back in January,” Horst said. “And, of course, way back before that we had to request a grant. So, it’s been a year, maybe 18 months. The first process is to apply for a grant; once we receive the grand then we can proceed with the engineering, then once that gets approves by the state then we can go ahead and do construction. The grant’s through the DNR, Department of Natural Resources the state of Missouri.”
During the Jamboree, information tents and water stations will be set up for participants cycling, running, or walking at various locations and along the trail.
“(The Jamboree is) just to give back to the community,” Horst said. “A lot of places are doing free events, you know, with what’s been going on and stuff. As opposed to holding the Maple Leaf Bicycle Ride we decided to do this Jamboree. We do have one food truck; we have bands lined up from 10 to 2. So, you can come out; if you don’t want to ride or walk or run, you can drive your car out to the Oronogo city park and join us, or you can ride, bike, run in from wherever you are along the trail.”
If individuals don’t want to or can’t attend the Jamboree, Horst encourages anyone to visit the Ruby Jack Trail any time.
“Just come out and explore the Ruby Jack,” Horst said. “A lot of people don’t know about it, we’re only 15 minutes from downtown Joplin. … So, come on out and check it out. …”