My apologies for the long silence. I promise you we’ve been working. As we head into construction of the trails, the final fundraising push, and activating users, we’ll provide much more frequent updates here and on social media.
Trail Solutions came down shortly after the tornado damage. While it was bad in some areas, it’s thankfully not going to require any substantial reroute of the trail corridors that had already been flagged. A few weeks ago, DNR closed on a salvage contract with a timber company to come get all of the downed timber. This is a very positive development, as much of that downed timber would have been expensive and dangerous to remove with chainsaws as part of trail construction.
We’re pretty much there on the environmental and archeological surveys. Trail Solutions was in town this past week for the Georgia Trails Conference and looked at the only small reroute that will be required for the beginner trails (moving a small, couple hundred yard segment of trail a little bit uphill). Other than that, the only issue worth mentioning is some sensitive habitat at the end of segment #17. That can be rerouted as well, and we’ll address it in the fall.
I have the contract in hand for the construction of segments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. #1 is the kids/super-beginner trail and then #2-5 will form what is known as a lasso or lollipop. It will be around 6 miles of beginner trail.
I’ve got the contract out to the Steering Committee, Fund Advisors, and DNR for comments and hope to sign the middle of next week. Trail Solutions is in Anniston, AL right now and will be coming down after they finish there. They should be here end of this month or early June, and hopefully these segments will be complete by early- to mid-July. The Fund has the money to pay for the construction of these segments.
It remains the goal to build the other 19 miles of trail this fall and early 2020, but that’s going to require more fundraising. We need $1.75 million and have around $750K (many thanks to those that have already contributed). Once I get the Master Plan this coming week, we are going to begin the final fundraising push (and we’ll start updating the thermometer on the homepage). The Master Plan will not affect the layout of the trails. It is essentially a 30 to 40ish-page document that addresses technical specifications, maintenance, and management. I’m confident it’s going to be an impressive document and help with fundraising.
Thanks for everyone’s continued interest and support.