One of our favorite “fellow traveler” organizations is the Georgia Trail Summit (GTS.)
GTS is a group of self organized volunteers committed to advancing a world-class trail network in Georgia, including rail-trails, greenways, blueways, multi-purpose paths, equestrian trails, and thematic trails based on history, culture and food.
The Summit is endorsed by about 40+ trail-related groups (including Georgia Bicycle Adventures!) committed to realizing a first-class trail network in Georgia.
In April of 2014, a dynamic committee planned and held the first trail summit in Georgia in 15 years April 11-12, 2014 in Athens. GTS provided connections, shared knowledge and furthered the trail projects already happening in Georgia for 153 attendees from 35 Georgia cities, 4 states and the District of Columbia.
Topics and discussion included a session on Bicycle Tourism facilitated by Georgia Bicycle Adventure’s (GBA) Robyn Elliott with Georgia Department Of Economic Development/Tourism Division’s Beda Johnson—underscoring our partnership with the Georgia Tourism Division, repeating GBA’s mantra: Georgia can compete NOW in the growing global bicycle tourism market by Identifying, Packaging, and Promoting Our Existing Bicycle Tourism Assets, and introducing our newest project the Antebellum Bicycle Tour Route which connects Athens to Macon along 181 miles of beautiful backroads and communities. The conference was a huge success with 87% of the attendees evaluating it as providing “a great deal” or “a lot of” value.
In addition to numerous presentations, breakout sessions, and an “UNconference” built upon topics that grew out of attendees’ suggestions, there were also Workshops that got us out and about to experience trails with Bike (paved and unpaved), Walk (paved, and unpaved), Hike, Paddle, and Horse Trail Mobile Workshops.
We especially enjoyed the Interpreting the North Oconee River Greenway Mobile Workshop— a walk on a beautiful paved path along the river downtown showing where and how Athens developed. The workshop included a spectacular up close view of the famous railroad trestle featured on the cover of (Athen’s own) R.E. M.’s iconic album cover “Murmur!”
Check out Georgia Trail Summit’s Facebook Page and look for more exciting developments as they build Georgia’s trail network! https://www.facebook.com/georgiatrailsummit