LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — Laurens County has opened its first portion of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail. The county held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

“This trail has so much potential for all the people of this county and all of the great things that we would like to see,” Bud Marchant, the executive director of the Laurens County Trails Association, said.

It is called The Loop Trail and is located behind Prisma Health’s Laurens County Hospital near Highway 76.

The trail is 1.8 miles long and designed as a loop. It weaves through the trees offering walkers, runners and cyclists places to rest along the way.

“The main goal for this is to be the backbone of Laurens County,” Andy Howard, the director of Laurens County Parks and Recreation, said.

The trail cost less than $300,000 to complete, according to Howard. It was funded through the county’s Capital Project Sales Tax, which was approved by Laurens County voters.

“This was paid for by the citizens of Laurens County,” Howard said. “This was not a tax enacted by the council members. This was not enacted by anybody else. This was voted on and chosen by the citizens of Laurens County. They wanted this.”

The trail is designed to connect residents with nature and give them a safe place to exercise.

“South Carolina currently ranks 41st in the nation in health ratings,” Justin Benfield, the CEO of Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital and Hillcrest Hospital, said. “Mental health, obesity and heart disease are the three areas in which we see significant room for improvement. Physical activity is one of the best things we can do to improve the health in each one of those areas.”

With nearly two miles now complete, the county is looking at extending the trail. Howard said the next step is to connect two of their communities.

“Our plan is to build it up and start going toward Clinton and Laurens,” Howard said.

The trail will continue expanding in the coming years.

“The ultimate goal is to connect from Fountain Inn where the Swamp Rabbit Rrail ends in Greenville County and carry it all the way out to the Palmetto Trail,” Howard said.