The Georgia Trail Summit 2017 was presented by Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land. We are grateful to our generous sponsors. Here are their thoughts on WHY the Georgia Trail Summit matters.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
“We are committed to working with our partners to foster connections between local communities and the immeasurable natural resources throughout our state” says Mark Williams, Commissioner of DNR. “We are happy to be part of the Trail Summit once again this year and look forward to continuing to create additional recreational trail opportunities for the public.”
Bridge Builders $2,500-4,999
Jim Langford, president of MillionMile Greenway says, “Since 2008, MillionMile Greenway has mentored almost a dozen communities and grassroots groups to plan and build trails and greenways in three states. We’re all about hands-on involvement and sharing best practices. That’s why we see the Georgia Trail Summit as an outstanding opportunity to connect people with the same dreams facing the same issues. It’s all about learning from each other.”
River Valley Regional Commission
According to Julio Portillo, “We sponsor the Georgia Trail Summit as part of RVRC’s commitment and continued support of trail systems for all users in our service region across the state and nationwide. Trails improve health and provide access to transportation and recreation facilities for all.”
Bob’s Trails, Trees and Gardens
According to Bob Richards, “Trails and greenways are the way to connect people with their families, friends and neighbors, with schools and businesses and all aspects of their community. Trails connect us with nature, health and are just fun to explore. They are critical components to community infrastructure and are strong investments which bring economic dividends.”
Columbus Georgia Convention & Visitors Bureau
President-CEO, Peter Bowden reports, “Visitor research tells us Columbus is emerging as an adventure destination; from the Chattahoochee RiverWalk to the longest urban whitewater course in the world, from biking trails to Columbus’ burgeoning food scene, art and cultural happenings and so much more. This year’s Trail Summit helps bring increased attention on the exciting transformations and offerings taking place in Columbus. We’re delighted to be a part of the story.”
Georgia Dept. of Economic Development, Tourism Product Development
Chris Cannon, Assistant Director GDEcD-TPD tells us, “We are proud supporters of the Georgia Trail Summit because new trail development and improvements to existing trails across the State of Georgia is important to our future economy. Outdoor recreation and eco-tourism are one of the top 10 reasons visitors choose to come here. Future development will increase our economic vitality, generate jobs and create tax-revenue that supports every facet of our lives, from transportation and infrastructure to healthcare and education.”
Greta deMayo notes, “the KAIZEN team is looking forward to learning through everyone’s trail building experiences during the 2017 Georgia Trail Summit. We are excited about being among our trail friends and enjoying Columbus’ Dragonfly Trails Network.”
Brian Green, project manager, tells us his team “is looking forward to being a first-time sponsor at the Georgia Trail Summit. Nature Bridges hopes to learn from other sponsors’ trail building experiences and connect with like-minded businesses in the industry.”
Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission
Mack Duncan, ORGC board member notes ORGC is an arm of the Athens-Clarke County government established in 1992 as a 15-member citizens’ commission charged with advising the mayor and ACC commissioners for planning and management of the county greenway network. ACC ordinance defines the primary purpose of the greenway system as “the protection of the natural resources of the North Oconee and Middle Oconee rivers, their major tributaries and their floodplains for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens.”
Outside World Columbus
Join us for a fascinating four-hour, seven-mile flatwater paddle on one of Georgia’s 17 developing water trails. Along the way, you’ll learn about key elements necessary for a successful water trail and the progress and current status of the Chattahoochee Valley Blueway. Setting the vision, engaging the community and securing funding will be covered. Kayaks and gear provided.
The Trust for Public Land
As passionate outdoor enthusiasts we created “Discover Georgia Outdoors.com and discovered that Georgia needed one location with all the amazing trails our state has to offer. We have redrawn more than 600 Georgia Trails and created the Discover Georgia Trails App, which is a phenomenal free app featuring these land and water trails and tracks pace, distance and records all the trails and activities the user has enjoyed by year complete with a photo library of Georgia Trail memories.” – Linda Mosely, 365 Degree Total Marketing
ALTA Planning + Design
Britt Storck explains, “We’re sponsoring the Georgia Trail Summit because we support trails and trail leadership in Georgia. Trails aren’t just connections to destinations anymore. Trails have become the destinations. They tap into awareness and consideration of our environment, culture, health, economy and aesthetic while providing a variety of experiences for their users. Trails represent where we live and how we live.”
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Callaway Gardens staff offer a guided bicycle tour of their newly repaved Discovery Bicycle Trail – a 10-mile ride. Admission to Callaway Gardens and bike rental are complimentary for this workshop (limit of 12). Or bring your own bike. Helmets will be provided. Enjoy lunch on your own in the restaurant adjacent to the Discovery Center. The park is in Pine Mountain and on the way home if you live north of Columbus.
Coalition for Sound Growth
Columbus Georgia Sports Council
Merri Sherman of the Columbus Georgia Sports Council tells us her group is “proud to support the Georgia Trail Summit and joins our T.E.A.M. Columbus collaborations and partnerships in welcoming you to Columbus.” She adds, “We invite you to take full advantage of the many great things to do here; the reason we love to call Columbus home.”
DERO Bike racks
Micah Morrison tells us, “It’s great to be part of the Dero team. We strive to help people on two wheels experience a safe and memorable ride. Trails that incorporate bike amenities, like secure bike parking and repair stations, give additional confidence to those who might not have tried a longer tour or commute. This peace of mind brings young and old, newbies and more experienced bicyclists back for more!”
Mary Cook, Firefly Treasurer notes “As we work to make all 39 miles of Northeast Georgia’s Firefly Trail a reality, we are constantly reminded of how important it is to create a culture that values trails and the benefits they bring. We are proud to be one of the founding sponsors of the Georgia Trail Summit and support its mission to enhance our communities to create safe places to walk, run, ride and paddle.”
Georgia Canoeing Association
See you on the river!
Georgia’s Little River Water Trail
Our new water trail in east central Georgia, near Clarks Hill Lake is currently under development. An intimate river with a wide array of wildlife and a rich history from gold mines, Quaker settlements and Native Americans. The trail coasts 20 miles along the McDuffie and Wilkes County lines from the Woodruff Bridge at Highway 80 to Raysville Campground on Clarks Hill Lake. Our mission is to help you discover a bend in the river where society fades and nature awaits to greet you. Our goal is to celebrate our natural resources through conservation and recreation.
Georgia River Network
Join us for a fascinating four-hour, seven-mile flatwater paddle on one of Georgia’s 17 developing water trails. Along the way, you’ll learn about key elements necessary for a successful water trail and the progress and current status of the Chattahoochee Valley Blueway. Setting the vision, engaging the community and securing funding will be covered. Kayaks and gear provided onsite.
Georgia State University School of Public Health
The School of Public Health at Georgia State University is proud to once again sponsor the Georgia Trail Summit.
The School, which is fully accredited and serves one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation, offers a wide array of academic programs in public health including a Masters and a PhD with environmental health concentrations.
J.R. Wilburn and Associates
National Park Service – Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance
Sara Vinson, chair, explains Newton Trails is a returning Georgia Trail Summit sponsor “to demonstrate to our local trail supporters that there’s a statewide trail movement in Georgia and we’re part of it. Striving to be be active in the larger conversation, strengthens our organization.”
Northeast Georgia Regional Commission
Ride On Bikes
Bike the trails with champions of the effort to connect Columbus trails. The 7-mile round trip ride visits the RiverWalk, Dragonfly Trails and Fall Line Trace rail trail. Ride on Bikes will provide 20 bikes onsite. Reserve one at registration when you arrive or bring your own. SORBA will also lead a ride to mountain bike the natural trails of Flat Rock Park adjacent to the Fall Line Trace. Bring your own mountain bike.
TRED of Rome/Floyd County
President Julie Smith reports TRED has sponsored the Trail Summit since the first year in 2014. “For a young and purely volunteer organization in a part of Georgia that often has more NIMBYs than WIMBYs, the Georgia Trail Summit gives us huge validation that our cause and mission is on the right trajectory. Each year TRED is inspired by projects and advocates we meet from all over the state who share the collective vision for creating more trail networks in Georgia.”
She adds, “We remain optimistic that the day will come when Georgia legislators support and fund trails and greenways the same way they do interstates and road improvements. One reason why the Trail Summit is so important is to provide people with the proper language and examples that trails do impact and boost the economy in tangible and intangible ways. Only when decision makers see the benefits in dollar signs, will they become a WIMBY for their community.”
University of Georgia – College of Public Health
Creating the longest urban whitewater trail – a rafting workshop on the Chattahoochee River detailing the history of removing dams to return the river to a whitewater amenity. Workshop begins at Whitewater Express storefront and finishes on the river. Lunch provided and space to change into dry gear. Arrive at the summit early for this workshop at 10:00 am Thursday, April 20.
Writer, Kevin Posey
Contributor to Strong Towns and Streetsblog.