Long-range plans call for several cultural places to be highlighted along the proposed 98-mile trail.
In Douglas County, it includes Boundary Waters Park and Dog River Reservoir. The trail might meander alongside Hwy. 166, which has been designated a state scenic highway.
“There is a high-level concept plan in place for the project,” said Randy Hulsey, Douglas County DOT director. “The impetus of a 98-mile trail is there. The intent is to become a regional trail system.”
The plan is to connect the trail north of Sweetwater Creek State Park to the Silver Comet Trail.
“Then you would have a true regional trail,” he said.
Jim Williams, city manager of Chattahoochee Hills, one of the four partners in the project, said the city is in the process of applying for a grant to build its section of the regional trail.
“We are really excited about it,” said Williams “and we are moving forward as fast as we can, but we don’t have the money yet.”
Amy Goolsby, director/planner for Carroll County’s Department of Community Development, said the county is still in the planning stages but does have an idea of what they want to do.
She was unable to give a timeline as to when the project might begin.
District 3 County Commissioner Mike Mulcare had been instrumental in developing the Chattahoochee Hill Country Regional Trail project long before the county broke ground for the Boundary Water trail head last September.
“My activities in the community revolved around growth and development of our environment,” he said. “That was my focus in the community. The outgrowth of that is recognizing that people need access to nature. People need to get out into open land.”
An article about the PATH Foundation, a non-profit which plans, designs, builds and maintains greenway trails in Georgia, prompted Mulcare to go before the county commission to support a 2004 resolution in support of Douglas County Greenway Trail Alliance of a master greenway plan.
“We were able to get strong, broad-based support in Douglas County,” he said. “Both the previous and the current administration have supported this.”
He added, “Having a project on the ground will allow us to have proven ourselves and get a lot of private money over the years. The county has put their faith in the project and their money.”
Mulcare admits a degree of frustration for the project taking so long to get off the ground.
“The upside,” he said, “is that it will create momentum for people someday to be able to travel on a trail system and shop, walk for entertainment without setting foot in a car.”
Douglas County so far leads the pack in getting the first phase of the trail project off the ground before their partners in the endeavor.
“These things take so long,” he said, “but in 10 to 20 years, we will reap the benefit for future generations, but knowing the plans are there means a lot to me.”
Mulcare added, “The resolution in 2004 was the first step in getting government involved in the trail system.”