OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's not unusual to find Mike Craft out for a weekend bike ride. He's biked all over the country, and Ocean Springs' natural beauty still draws him in.
"[There are] a lot of beautiful views with East Beach and Front Beach and all the quiet streets and shaded streets of Ocean Springs," Craft said. "It's just a wonderful place to bicycle."
Craft isn't the only one taking advantage of the scenic beauty. If you take a quick drive through Ocean Springs on a sunny weekend, you are sure to spot several cyclists. That's why the city is pushing to make Ocean Springs more bike-friendly. The new trail connecting the city to Gulf Islands National Seashore is just part of a bigger plan.
"We've worked with a set of planners and the Gulf Coast Cycling Club, the Gulf Regional Planning Council and many others," said Planning Director Eric Meyer. "We have a trails map for the entire town from the new bridge all the way over to the east side, where it connects with Gautier. We also have plans from the south end of town, all the way up to the bayou."
The Live Oak Bicycle Trail is a long term plan, and Meyer thinks it will eventually help connect the city in a fresh new way.
"Ocean Springs is, you know, not only are we an artistic community, but we're a town that likes to get outside more than most," Meyer said. "We're an active community. The hope is to get folks from east to west, north to south, around our schools, around our parks, without a car."
Expect to see more little changes over the next few years.
"Over the long term, we're going to need in some places to widen the road and restripe for a bicycle lane, add sidewalks in places, especially around schools and parks where they're lacking," Meyer said. "So there are definitely improvements that need to be made around town."
City officials will present the trail map to the Board of Aldermen in early April.