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Nacogdoches embraces trail vision with 'Ab Abernethy Day'

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Bruce R. Partain
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The preservation society Friends of Historic Nacogdoches Inc. is blazing a trail to honor a Nacogdoches resident who has created walking trails along two creeks one ax swing at a time.

Stephen F. Austin State University emeritus professor of English F.E. “Ab” Abernethy has worked tirelessly for three decades developing walking trails in Nacogdoches. Now, the city’s historic preservation group is raising $25,000 for the completion of the Banita Creek Trail Project, according to committee chairwoman Diana Walker. She says $8,000 has already been raised for the trail project that will be maintained by the city.

“It’s very clean. It’s very wide. People can walk it. We had one area of the trail I had never been to. There were waterfalls and springs coming out of the side of the creek. It was absolutely gorgeous. I was just blown away,” Walker said.

Abernethy wielded an ax and chainsaw to blaze the Lanana Creek Trail, 3-and-a-half scenic miles. That trail took about 17 years to complete, beginning in the mid-1980s.

The Banita Creek Trail volunteers are raising money to extend the trail, add signage and create Abernethy park. At age 89, Abernethy says the community momentum is uplifting and now he’s working to get landowners on his side.

“We’ve run into a problem with landowners who don’t want it coming through their property. We’ll have to work through that,” Abernethy said.

Walker says the volunteers planted 40 cypress trees along the Banita Creek Trail last week. The city of Nacogdoches is declaring March 10 Ab Abernethy Day.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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