January 2018

First-Ever Trail Master Plan Underway!

The eighty-three miles of trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) are getting a professional assessment for the first time in the park’s history. Goals for the planning effort – contracted by the National Park Service with Lord Aeck Sargent and Applied Trails Research – include the development of best-practice maintenance standards, restoration priorities and opportunities to connect adjacent local public green space to the national park.

Using science-based approaches, Applied Trails Research (ATR), a full-service outdoor recreation firm, has already begun its field work to evaluate existing trail conditions and secure feedback from park volunteers and users. At a recent Trail Blazers meeting, held at the Island Ford Visitor Center, Dr. Jeremy Wimpey with ATR explained the process that will help frame a final plan to guide the CRNRA in its efforts to develop a sustainable and connected trail system. Public input will be sought this spring through meetings and an online community engagement tool called Social Pinpoint. Trail Blazer attendees were impressed with ATR and the potential that this initiative has to improve park trails. Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy is proud to have contributed nearly half of the funds to support the master plan, along with Trust for Public Land and other generous donors. Stay tuned for updates!

Photo: Eroded trail in Vickery Creek Unit.


Brett Davidson became hooked on the outdoors when CPC member Chatty Wight Stover led his third grade class on a field trip in the CRNRA in the early 1980s. Growing up near the Chattahoochee instilled in Brett a passion for the national park and trails of all kinds. For the past twenty-five years, he has been a mountain-biking enthusiast, an outgrowth of years of hiking and backpacking. As the president of the Southeast Off-Road Bicycling Association (SORBA)-Atlanta, Brett spends thirty hours per week as a volunteer, working to promote, maintain and restore natural-surface, shared-use trails in metro Atlanta.

Hikers, runners and bikers share a figure-eight loop trail, nearly seven miles in length, in the Sope Creek Unit of the CRNRA. (The remaining 76 miles of trails in the national park may not be used by bikers.) As the closest mountain biking trail to Atlanta with challenging terrain and beautiful scenery, the trail experiences tremendous demand from all users. Committed to maintaining the trail, SORBA and its volunteers work monthly with the National Park Service (an impressive 4500 hours per year), organize trail classes and fund a trail assessment, every two years, to identify areas that need repairs. Of note: bikers must yield to pedestrians on this trail which is closed for bikes during/after rain storms. To learn more: www.sorbaatlanta.org/sope-creek/

Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center Events

Winter Campfire and Night Hike:
Sat, Jan 20 (6:30-8:30pm)
Roast marshmallows and enjoy nocturnal sights and sounds along a forested river trail guided by National Park Service Ranger Jerry Hightower.

Winter Owl Prowl:
Sat, Feb 24 (6:30-9pm)

This popular event includes a campfire, guided night hike and live owl programs presented by the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Limit: 150.

Reservations required by calling the National Park Service at 678-538-1200.

Become a member of Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy today!

As a member, you can help us achieve our vision of an inspired and thriving community of support for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Click here to join!

Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy Inc. is proud to support our Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a unit of the national park system managed by the National Park Service.

Visit our website at www.chattahoocheeparks.org.

Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chattahoocheeparks.