$2.5 million in competitive grants awarded for trails in Georgia
ATLANTA, GA (April 14, 2020) – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has chosen 12 recipients for the Georgia Recreational Trails Program grants for construction and rehabilitation of trails. Selected applicants will be invited to submit final applications for their proposals, which would result in almost $2.5 million of funding to support outdoor access in Georgia. Grantees will partner with private and public organizations, leveraging RTP funding into a total estimated investment of more than $4.6 million for projects.
Of local interest are a few application that are from some of Walton County’s neighboring communities. These include the new Red Trail in the City of Covington’s Central Park and the South River Water Trail Alliance plans to create water trail access to the South River for kayaking and canoeing in Rockdale County. There also was an application to reconstruct a dilapidated trail bridge along the Lake Loop Trail that is an important connecting element of Fort Yargo’s park’s trail system.
“We are excited to support these communities and these projects because we want to make sure that every Georgian has a chance to get outdoors,” said Mark Williams, Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. “We’ve seen public access dramatically increase through the many great trails built in partnership with RTP, and we are looking forward to even more.”
According to the press release announcing the projects, it was noted that the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) seeks to support communities in developing recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized & motorized outdoor recreation. RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund & represent an estimate of the motor fuel excise tax collected from off-highway recreational use.
Georgia DNR conducts biannual grant application cycles for RTP funds. The 12 awardees were selected from 39 project proposals requesting $6.5 million in all.
The selected projects include five trails in public parks, two water trail projects for canoeing and kayaking, three greenway paths through communities, one rails-to-trails project, and six off-road motorized trail systems. The complete list of Georgia Recreational Trails Program awards is below. For more information about RTP and these grants, visit www.gadnr.org/rtp.
2019-2020 Georgia Recreational Trails Program Selected Projects
City of Albany
Flint River Trails, Albany Downtown Connector – $200,000
The City of Albany will complete the 1.9-mile Albany Downtown Connector of the larger 30+ mile trail network known as Flint River Trails. The finished trail project will include a trailhead with parking and a trail spur to the Riverfront Trail.
City of Cairo
Southern Terrace Park Trail – $200,000
The City of Cairo will construct a new trail in the city’s Southern Terrace Park. This trail will be open to a variety of users including those wanting to walk, bike, or skate.
City of Covington
Covington Central Park Red Trail – $200,000
The City of Covington will complete the final section of the new Red Trail in Covington Central Park. The Red Trail accommodates both walkers and cyclists just a few blocks from the city square.
City of Cumming
City Center Trail – $200,000
The City of Cumming is constructing a trail and boardwalk that will meander above the Kelly Mill Branch stream, its tributaries, and wetlands. This trail will be located at the new Cumming City Center.
City of Guyton
Main Street Rail Trail – $66,126
The City of Guyton will conduct rehabilitation on the Main Street Rail Trail through downtown. In 2005, the city converted a former railroad line into this popular walking trail.
City of Young Harris
Cupid Falls Trails – $155,440
The City of Young Harris is constructing and rehabilitating trails to improve accessibility at Cupid Falls Park. This project includes the addition of an ADA accessible ramp between the Upper Falls Trail and the Lower Falls Trail and the expansion of a boardwalk along the Upper Falls Trail for more ADA access and ease of use.
Etowah River Water Trail at Douthit Ferry – $82,518
Bartow County will construct a new boat launch and trailhead for canoes and kayaks on the Etowah River Water Trail system which stretches from Forsyth County to Rome. This project will be constructed at Sam Smith Park in partnership with the City of Cartersville.
South River Water Trail Launch and Takeout – $200,000
Rockdale County has partnered with the South River Water Trail Alliance to create water trail access to the South River for kayaking and canoeing. This project will provide access points to the South River Water Trail at both Lorraine Park and along Oglesby Bridge Road, opening a new 6.5 miles stretch of river for users to paddle.
The Thread, Phase 7 at Panther Park – $200,000
Troup County, in partnership with the City of LaGrange, will continue construction of the community’s greenway path known as The Thread. This section will connect LaGrange College to the Hillside neighborhood.
Fort Yargo State Park
Lake Loop Trail Bridge Reconstruction – $200,000
Fort Yargo State Park, the seventh most visited state park in Georgia, will reconstruct a dilapidated trail bridge along the Lake Loop Trail that is an important connecting element of the park’s trail system. The Lake Loop Trail serves primarily hikers, although it is also open to bicycles, and is used several times a year for races conducted in the park.
Georgia College & State University
Campus Connector Trail, Phase II – $200,000
Georgia College & State University, in partnership with the Baldwin County School System, will complete the Campus Connector Trail. This trail, open to bicycles and pedestrians, spans Fishing Creek.
U.S. Forest Service – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
Forest Wide Motorized Trail Rehabilitation – $582,900
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest offers approximately 107 miles of motorized off-road recreation opportunities throughout 867,000 acres across 26 counties in Georgia. The six motorized trail systems to be rehabilitated provide opportunities for full size vehicles, dirt bikes and other off-highway vehicles.
The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices.