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The northwest part of the state has built an impressive network of bicycle infrastructure—thanks, in part, to the Walton Family Foundation.
Kelsey Miller likes to play a game with herself to see how many days she can go without driving her car. On most days, she bikes to work and to run errands.
This car-lite lifestyle may be unremarkable for many coastal urbanites, but Miller lives in Bentonville, Arkansas, population 47,000 and home to Walmart’s headquarters.
Northwest Arkansas might not be the kind of place one expects to find a bike renaissance, but it’s having one anyway. Municipalities across the region, which encompasses the main cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Springdale, as well as several smaller towns, have been steadily building up their biking infrastructure over the past several years. A mix of federal transportation grants and the Walton Family Foundation, the nonprofit led by the children and grandchildren of Walmart’s founders, helped fuel the bike boom: The organization has invested $74 million in the region’s trails, which now comprise a network of about 350 miles of shared-use and mountain biking trails, including more than 130 miles of shared-use paved paths.*