PIEDMONT, S.C. (WSPA) For decades, over 40 acres of land have been sitting behind Lakeside Park.

“There’s like 40 acres of woods behind us that was just sort of sitting there vacant, so we approached Greenville County Rec and said, hey we would love to put in some trails,” said Matt Flege, executive director of The Upstate Greenways and Trails Alliance (UGATA).

Saturday marked the day those trails opened for the public after a year’s worth of work.

UGATA said the six-mile trail system in Lakeside Park is open for walkers, runners and bikers. It consists of three connecting loops for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. UGATA said the trail network is adding something that’s been missing to Greenville County.

“Here in the Upstate there’s lots of great trails, however many of them are kind of more in the northern part of the county towards the mountains,” said Flege. “There’s a real need for walking and biking trails closer to neighborhoods, closer to where people live.”

Bikers like Owen Pulk said this is one of the reasons he’s excited about the trail network.

“I think the cool thing here is that it is close to downtown Greenville and it’s fairly close to TR, Travelers Rest, so having a spot that you can get to very easily because this is super accessible,” said Owen Pulk, biker.

Accessible was a keyword that UGATA said they kept in mind while planning.

“Just having more trails close to where people are opens up accessibility to people who might not otherwise be able to go drive an hour to get up to the mountains and hike somewhere, so we just feel like the more opportunities the more healthy we’ll be as a community,” said Flege.

UGATA said some of the trails have a direct connection to surrounding neighborhoods, allowing some residents to walk to the trail rather than drive.