DNR awards $1.5 million in leisure path grants

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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that two area trails will be repaired and expanded under a state grant program. Projects in Braselton and Lumpkin County are among eleven projects selected statewide that will receive a total of $1.5 million in grants for the Recreational Trails program.

When used with private and public partnerships, DNR officials say these grants will amount to an approximately $4.2 million investment in trail projects across Georgia. The applicants are in the process of completing their final environmental assessments and work is expected to begin shortly.

“These communities are investing in access to outdoor recreation, and we’re happy to support them,” said Mark Williams, Commissioner for the Department of Natural Resources.

The City of Braselton has received an RTP grant for Phase 2 of its Mulberry Riverwalk Redevelopment Project. The Mulberry Riverwalk Trail, created in 2004, is located on the west bank of the Mulberry River. The river has weathered several major storms over time and several sections of the trail have been severely damaged by riverbank erosion. Once the riverbanks are stabilized, the city will use RTP funds to restore damaged parts of the trail.

Lumpkin County is also set to receive funding. His RTP grant will be used to build two additional miles of pedestrian walkways around Yahoola Creek. This work includes a new pedestrian walkway, two new kiosks at the trailhead and 13 signposts on the Yahoola Creek Reservoir property.

Other funding projects

The Recreational Trails Program aims to assist communities in developing recreational trails and trail-related facilities for non-motorized and motorized outdoor recreation. The RTP monies come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and represent an estimate of the fuel consumption tax collected from off-road recreational use.

Georgia DNR conducts bi-annual grant application cycles for RTP funds. The recent recipients were selected from 33 project proposals requesting US$5.2 million.

Other recipients of RTP grants 2021-2022 are:

Augusta Canal Authority – Rehabilitation of a single track canal mountain bike trail
The existing Canal Single-Track Trail, developed in the 1990s, is a loop between the historic Augusta Canal and the Savannah River and is approximately 2.8 miles long. Recent dredging at Raes Creek and Lake Olmstead has damaged about a mile of the trail beyond repair. This project will rehabilitate that portion of this unique urban mountain bike trail that serves the Central Savannah River area.

County of Bartow – Mountain bike trail at Wilderness Camp Greenspace
Bartow County will create approximately four miles of moderate mountain bike trails at its Wilderness Camp Greenspace. The intermediate trails offer a more challenging option for intermediate riders and allow beginners to gradually develop their skills. This will increase recreational opportunities for existing mountain bikers and encourage others to explore mountain biking.

City of Cedartown – Silver Comet Accessibility Improvement and Rehabilitation Project
The Silver Comet Trail (SCT) is a 61.5-mile multi-use trail that begins north of Atlanta and heads west until it reaches the Alabama state line. The City of Cedartown’s Silver Comet accessibility improvement and maintenance project consists of replacing two bridges, repairing existing trail infrastructure, and installing new trail signage.

City of Leesburg – Recreational Trail in Central Park
The City of Leesburg will rehabilitate the existing trail in the city’s 48-acre Central Park and add more than a half-mile of new trails to this system. The path will be built for both pedestrians and cyclists. The trail will be adjacent to public schools and one block from downtown Leesburg/Central Business District.

City of Thomasville – Thomasville Community Trail – Stage 4
The City of Thomasville will expand the Thomasville Community Trail from Hansell St. along E. Washington Street and through MacIntyre Park to Clay Street. This section will help connect existing trail sections along Hansell Street and E. Jackson Street. It also connects MacIntyre Park Middle School and Thomasville High School to MacIntyre Park and provides access to the inner loop of the Thomasville Community Trail.

Columbus consolidated government – Dinglewood Park Walkway
The Columbus Consolidated government has approved a trail master plan to provide 65 miles of multipurpose trail, including new construction and connections to existing trails. The Dinglewood Park Trail is the second phase of the Midtown Connector, which will create a north-south connection between the two longest trails in the existing trail network.

Gilmer County – Carters Lake Mountain Bike and Hiking Trail, Ridgeway Recreation Area
This project, located in the Ridgeway Recreation Area, will build three miles of new natural-surface trails consisting of one- and two-mile loops that will provide intermediate and expert mountain bike opportunities and pedestrian opportunities to explore the trails to explore. The new paths will be connected to existing old paths and forest roads. The construction of these two loops will complete the route plan for the Ridgeway Recreation Area.

Harris County – Walking trails in Ellerslie Park
Harris County has acquired 124 acres of land for park use and has been developing Ellerslie Park since 2018. The county will develop approximately 4,000 additional feet of dirt roads and a gravel road start for at least 10 to 15 vehicles.

Union City – Highway 29 Hiking Trail
This hiking, trail running, and wheelchair accessible trail provides pedestrian access to nearly 17 acres of wooded public land within Union City’s city limits. The trail start point will be along State Route 14 and the trail will provide connections to Hwy 29 Ball Fields, The Gathering Place and the Etris-Darnell Community Center. The new trail will terminate at Ronald Bridges Park and connect to his existing nature trail.

For more information about RTP and these grants, visit www.gadnr.org/rtp.