Ride the trails in Amarillo

Officially, Chris Podzemny is a former employee for the City of Amarillo (COA), having worked as an environmental inspector at the Osage Water Treatment Plant. These days, Podzemny is still doing a lot of work for the Amarillo community.

Podzemny is one of three directors of Six Pack Outdoors Inc. (SPO), a non-profit organization blazing a trail in Amarillo – almost literally. Podzemny and SPO have created and built roughly 30 miles of hiking/biking trails on city property. And at no charge to taxpayers.

The self-described mission of SPO is to promote “the conservation, administration and maintenance of public lands” with public-use trail systems for outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.

“Traditionally, Amarillo has not been the greatest community for outdoor recreation,” said Podzemny, an Amarillo native who grew up in Pampa and graduated from Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University. “We have lots of open space. When you have this big field, what do you do with that? You add trails to that big field and now you can utilize that property to do something healthy.

“Ultimately, we want trail systems all around Amarillo connecting all the neighborhoods. We want every neighborhood to have access to some type of trail.”

To put it in perspective, Podzemny and SPO have almost built enough trails (as far as miles) to stretch from Amarillo to Happy. 

SPO’s trail projects which were approved by the COA Parks and Recreation Board include:

●15 miles of trails at Rick Klein Sports Complex.

●4.43 miles of trails at John Stiff Memorial Park.

●4.84 miles of trails at the Ninth Street Trails. 

One of SPO’s current trail projects is “The Schoolyard,” the location of the former Tornado Alley BMX Raceway.

“What we want to accomplish is to help the city develop the Master Plan for the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD),” said Podzemny, who serves on the COA Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee. “A lot of the stuff we are aiming to do is in the PARD Master Plan.”

Podzemny said the goal is to get people outside and enjoying the amenities Amarillo provides.

“The great thing about these trails is that they are not just for bikes. They are for people who want to go hiking, trail running, walk their dog, bird watch – whatever,” Podzemny said. “We just want to get people outside.”

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