Lionel Hampton Trail an Overlooked Fitness Resource
Playground, fitness stations, path all in place but where are the people?
If you've lived in or around the Cascade area for long, you've probably heard of the Silver Comet Trail. But have you heard about a trail much closer to home named the Lionel Hampton Trail?
Chances are you haven't. This trail is located centrally off of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Browning Street.
Considering the high rates of heart diseases, stroke, and asthma within the African-American community, it is truly a shame that this path is so unknown, compared to more remote trails, like the Silver Comet.
Regular exercise can help combat these diseases and doing so at a community resource trail like the Lionel Hampton Trail is a pleasure.
The PATH non-profit organization helped build the Lionel Hampton Trail. Created by Maxine and David Rock, PATH stands for People of Atlanta for Trails Here. The Rocks started PATH in the early '90s with the idea of providing a transportation alternative to the cars that crowd Atlanta highways. Their solution was to build paths that were easily accessible for bikers and pedestrians.
The history of the Lionel Hampton Trail also involves some very famous African Americans. PATH impressed former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson when the organization finished the Stone Mountain Trail in 1992.
Jackson then introduced the Rocks to the famous jazz musician Lionel Hampton. Having worked with such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman, Hampton was a philanthropist as well as a gifted musician. President Bill Clinton even awarded Hampton the National Medal of Arts in 1996. After the introduction by Mayor Maynard Jackson, Hampton ended up donating the land for the Lionel Hampton Trail.
Adams Park homeowner Randal Reid enjoys the experience of running at the Lionel Hampton Trail two or three times every week early in the morning. He loves the experience of a paved trail surrounded by idyllic woods.
"It's natural. It's paved but you're running through the woods," Reid said. "It's quiet; there are no cars, no buses. You even come across deer every once in a while."
Reid knows the importance of taking care of your health with regular exercise: he has sold life insurance for the last three years.
"I feel like the trail is underused," Reid said. "We as African-Americans need exercise and the trail is there for us to use. People don't know about it and there aren't many of us in southwest Atlanta that are even exercising."
Monte Fowler is another fan of the Lionel Hampton Trail. "I enjoy it," Fowler said, "because you don't find any trails like it in Southwest Atlanta."
Fowler also says that while the paved trail might only be about 2 miles, the many unpaved trails that have been created by the utility companies who work the wooded portions of the trail add ups to around 11 miles of paths to enjoy. When asked why he thinks the citizens of Cascade don't use the trail, Fowler said: "I don't think a lot of people know the trail exists."
Fowler said he does not worry about safety when he's on the trail. "Whenever I run the trail I may run into two or three people every blue in a half moon," he said. "Mostly I don't run into any people and I think the trail is very safe."
The citizens of southwest Atlanta have a great resource in the Lionel Hampton Trail. Health is one of your greatest assets and exercising is an easy and enjoyable way to minimize the chances of developing conditions such as heart diseases and asthma.
The Lionel Hampton Trail is truly a hidden gem of the Cascade community that citizens need to know about.