Although it will take the input and approval of the Louisiana state Historic Preservation Office, the Louisiana field office of the U.S. Interior Department’s Wildlife and Fisheries Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the state Department of Transportation and Development, parish president Pat Brister of St. Tammany Parish has confidence that the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program will issue a grant to expand the Tammany Trace, which currently runs to Nelso Road west of the city of Slidell. The proposed expansion would create a crossing for the Tammany Trace at Carroll Road and would extend the Trace through Camp Salmen Nature Park to end in Old Towne Slidell. The cost of the project would be $420,000, and the federal grant would relieve St. Tammany Parish of $92,677 of that cost.
“We’re certainly pleased with this provisional approval for this longtime effort to bring the Trace all the way into our city,” Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan said in a news release. “We believe there’s an excellent chance that final approval will be forthcoming, but there’s still a lot of work ahead for all the parties involved.”
Camp Salmen Nature Park is a 106-acre park which runs adjacent to Bayou Liberty. Bikers, walkers, and riders would get to enjoy the ambiance of a wildlife refuge while having a complete connection from the West side of St. Tammany Parish to East St. Tammany. Camp Salmen’s acreage was originally donated to the Boy Scouts of America in 1924 by Fritz Salmen of the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company. The Scouts used Camp Salmen for all of their outdoor activities such as camping and nature skills until they moved the operation to Kiln, MS in 1983. Since then, St. Tammany Parish acquired the property in 2004 and opened it to the public in 2010. With the construction of the Trace, this park will start to see a lot more visitors. Overall, extending the Trace will offer more access to the City of Slidell as well as this historic public park.