MillionMile Greenway is a major sponsor of the Georgia Trail Summit again in 2016

Carrollton hosts Georgia Trail Summit in April:

Statewide trail community gathers to keep trails high on Georgia’s agenda

February 2016 – Now in its third year, the Georgia Trail Summit convenes in Carrollton on April 14, 15 and 16. The conference is open to everyone interested in creating a connected trail system across the state.  Tanner Health System is the lead sponsor.

Carrollton was selected as the host city this year because the first 13 miles of its 16-mile Carrollton GreenBelt has emerged as a shining role model in Georgia for getting it right.  Lessons learned by local leaders from Friends of the Carrollton GreenBelt will be offered in several sessions.

Alabama, Tennessee and Florida all have statewide agencies dedicated to trails.  But Georgia does not.  The keynote panel features trail coordinators from three neighboring states invited to share their experience and recommendations.  They will help Georgia jumpstart its own trails clearinghouse to inventory and steward trail projects, and establish an alliance for trail groups statewide.

Georgia trails are increasingly popular in communities large and small.  “Across the state, trails encourage healthy lifestyles; offer inexpensive, clean transportation choices; serve as economic development catalysts for increased tourism, property values and sales tax revenues and enhance quality of life for everyone,” remarks Tracie Sanchez, volunteer chair of the Georgia Trail Summit.

For instance, the Carrollton GreenBelt runs through the University of West Georgia campus and connects a public school to business districts. Tanner Health System is investing $35 million in a new healthcare center adjacent to the trail.

The Summit features 25 presentations from trail professionals in every discipline, and eight mobile workshops will get people outside on nearby water trails, cycling trails, mountain biking trails, parks and the Carrollton GreenBelt.

View the full schedule of the 2016 Georgia Trail Summit.

Early bird registration for the three-day conference is $85 before February 29 and includes several meals.  On March 1, the fee is $100.

The Georgia Trail Summit is organized by a dedicated group of volunteer trailblazers committed to realizing a world-class, connected trail system in every corner of Georgia.

Sponsors include Tanner Health System, MillionMile Greenway, Carrollton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, KAIZEN Collaborative, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Asheville Trails, Atlanta Trails, Georgia Bikes!, Georgia River Network, Georgia State University School of Public Health, Greenprints Alliance, Little Vine Vineyards and Winery, National Park Service, Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, PATH Foundation, Perpetual Motion Bicycles, TRED, University West Georgia and more to come.

#    #     #

To schedule an interview with Georgia Trail Summit chair Tracie Sanchez, local organizers or request high-res photos, contact Lisa Frank, Frank Relations at 404-255-8567 or

Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy receives $21,100 in grants – bringing the greenway closer to breaking ground
(Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Ann Arbor, MI –The Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy was awarded two separate grants this week from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and MillionMile Greenway to support the organization’s efforts to develop a greenway through the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. With a combined value of $21,100, these grants enable the Conservancy to move forward with community outreach and engagement to increase membership, public awareness and community collaboration.

The Greenway will start near Michigan Stadium, and will run north and south winding through downtown Ann Arbor, ultimately connecting to the Washtenaw County Border to Border (B2B) trail near the Argo Pond. Bob Galardi, President of the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy’s Board of Directors notes, “The Greenway, a paved trail, will provide safe, accessible walking and biking through the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, establish physical barriers from existing railroad tracks, and create better connectivity north to south. These grants give us the ability to continue to increase our community efforts through events, promotional material and online presence.” The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) awarded a $10,000 grant to help the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy build community partnerships with the City, the County and the University of Michigan and provide community outreach through promotional material and events. AAACF has a long history of supporting local community organizations that sustain and protect the local environment, from the Ecology Center and Recycle Ann Arbor to the Legacy Land Conservancy. A start-up grant to the Ecology Center in 1972 helped launch Ann Arbor’s first drop-off recycling stations, and a 2009 grant helped launch Michigan’s first local clean energy financing program.

A grant valued at $11,100 from MillionMile Greenway (MMG), an Atlanta-based nonprofit, combines a cash award and inkind
services from MMG’s experts in marketing and technical planning. MillionMile Greenway helps communities create or expand trail and greenway initiatives. “This project has every essential element we look for in a partner,” says Jim Langford, president of MillionMile Greenway. He cited “community buy-in with the ability to match MMG funding, and an ideal location in downtown Ann Arbor close to residential neighborhoods, the University of Michigan’s athletic complex and businesses.” Langford adds, “The 2.3-mile trail can also connect to 13 miles of existing nature trails to the north – a powerful benefit to living in Ann Arbor.” Other recent projects with MMG include the Northend Greenway in Harrisonburg, Virginia; the Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative in Spotsylvania County, also in Virginia; and the South Fork Conservancy inside the City of Atlanta, Georgia. Next steps for the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy include public meetings and a special event this fall. Sign up to receive electronic updates at or visit their Facebook page.

To schedule interviews or request photos, please contact Bob Galardi at Allen Creek Greenway –734-323-3450 or

Media contact for MillionMile Greenway: Lisa Frank – 404-255-8567 or

Media contact for AAACF: Jillian Rosen, AAACF Program Officer or (734) 663-0401

Rome’s trail advocate TRED receives grant moving projects closer to reality
(Rome, Georgia)

Rome, GA – Rome’s Redmond Trail Project is one step closer to being enjoyed by walkers and cyclists. A grant valued at $7,000 was awarded to Trails for Recreation and Economic Development (TRED) last week by MillionMile Greenway (MMG), an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps grassroots organizations plan and build trails. The grant combines a cash award and inkind services from MMG’s experts in marketing and community engagement. “This project has every essential element we look for in a partner,” says Jim Langford, president of MillionMile Greenway. He cited “community buy-in with the ability to match MMG funding, and a solid plan to connect neighborhoods and businesses with downtown Rome.” Langford also credits TRED’s long-range vision to connect Rome’s trails to the Silver Comet Trail (62 miles) and the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail (335 miles) as “a powerful benefit to Rome’s quality of life, now and in the future.”

According to Julie Smith, TRED’s president, phase one is a 1.5-mile paved trail running from The Heritage Trail at Avenue A to the Summerville Park neighborhood. Construction is slated to begin in 2015 – the result of a strong partnership with Rome City and Floyd County governments. “As Northwest Georgia’s only advocacy group dedicated to expanding trails, we’re keenly aware of the economic development and health amenities well-designed trails
will bring to Rome,” Smith remarks. “Providing easy walking, running and biking access encourages healthy recreation choices and becomes an ecofriendly alternative to driving.”

TRED was formed in 2012 by local citizens and trail enthusiasts in response to preserving a $400,000 grant awarded by the State of Georgia that was in jeopardy of being forfeited by the County. TRED quickly raised $75,000 to keep the grant “alive.” TRED will also lend its financial and technical support for the 2008 Rome Floyd Trail Facilities Plan – an innovative long-range plan to develop a seamless trail network for transportation, fitness and recreation. Approval to add an additional 3.3 miles of new trails at a cost of $1.8 million will be included on the Rome Floyd SPLOST initiative as a result of a partnership between TRED and Rome City government.

MillionMile Greenway helps communities create or expand trail and greenway initiatives by providing micro-grants and technical and marketing assistance.Current projects include trail planning and implementation in northern Virginia; Ann Arbor, Michigan; North Georgia and Atlanta.


To schedule interviews or request photos, please contact Julie Smith at TRED – 706-844-8509 or

Media contact for MillionMile Greenway: Lisa Frank – 404-255-8567 or

Introducing the Gold Belt Trail: Georgia’s Next Big Thing
(Cartersville, Georgia)

Biking and walking trails are sprouting up everywhere in Georgia…and the highly-successful Silver Comet Trail is among the most popular.

Now, MillionMile Greenway announces another big trail idea: the Gold Belt Trail, designed to link the Silver Comet to other parts of North Georgia and beyond. MillionMile Greenway assists communities in Georgia and elsewhere to create and expand greenways and trails. Cartersville and Bartow County recently asked MMG to help connect them to the Silver Comet.
The result is an anchor segment of the bold new Gold Belt Trail. The Gold Belt Trail will follow the diagonal corridor across Georgia that geologists call the “Gold Belt” – linking gold mining and other mineral heritage communities with each other in a scenic bicycle and pedestrian trail. Imagine Dallas, Acworth, Cartersville, Canton, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Helen and Clayton as links in a chain of gold nuggets from West Georgia to the mountains of North Carolina – spanning about 200 miles.

“Folks in Bartow County and Cartersville have enjoyed using our community trails for many years,” says Cartersville resident and Gold Belt Trail supporter Tommy Hall. “Now we can connect the Silver Comet to other communities across North Georgia.”
The Gold Belt Trail, unlike the Silver Comet, will not use old railroad beds except for short stretches. Instead, MMG will help each city and county find routes that fit their individual needs and resources. MMG will also provide technical and marketing assistance to communities that want help in implementing the trail. “We know this is a long-term vision. Some communities want to work on their portion immediately while others may take several years to figure out how to participate,” explains Jim Langford, president of MillionMile Greenway. “We’re here to help in any way that makes sense for them.”

Benefits of the Gold Belt Trail
• Conserving land for new parks and connecting them together with trails
• Creating healthy options for recreation in each city and county along the trail
• Increasing tourism and economic development for Gold Belt Trail communities and Georgia as a whole



Northend Greenway receives grant, moving the project one step closer to reality
(Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Harrisonburg, VA – A community grant valued at $11,000 was awarded to Harrisonburg’s Northend Greenway last week by MillionMile Greenway (MMG), an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps grassroots organizations build trails and protect green space.

The grant combines a cash award and in-kind services from MMG’s experts in marketing and technical planning. “This project has every essential element we look for in a partner,” says Jim Langford, President of MillionMile Greenway. He cited “community buy-in with the ability to match MMG funding, and a broad-based Advisory Board with leaders from the business, education, governmental and donor communities.” Langford adds, “The 2.5-mile trail also connects activity centers with each other – a powerful benefit to Harrisonburg.”

According to Suzi Carter, Northend Greenway’s outreach and development coordinator, the future paved trail will provide easy walking and biking access between the Farmers Market Pavilion downtown, the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community and the Eastern Mennonite University Arboretum which will bring together young and old, downtown residents and visitors, nature lovers and fitness advocates among many others.

Two years in the making, the Northend Greenway is second on a five-year priority list of projects identified in the City of Harrisonburg’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. “The City is committed to making similar projects shovel-ready to take advantage of future funding as sources like this grant become available,” Carter explains.

Next steps for the Northend Greenway include attractive signage to help residents and potential donors better visualize the new trail’s potential. Groundbreaking for trail construction is slated for fall 2013 once 75% of the funding is raised for the $1.3 million project.

The trail route is adjacent to Blacks Run, a polluted stream that eventually flows into the Shenandoah River and the Chesapeake Bay. Stream restoration efforts are an important component made possible by volunteer labor and a public education campaign.
The Northend Greenway will be a path connecting people and the places they want to go, a strategically located linear park, and a prototype of a high-caliber multi-modal transportation network for Harrisonburg.

MillionMile Greenway helps communities create or expand trail and greenway initiatives by providing micro-grants and technical and marketing assistance. In addition to the City of Harrisonburg, MillionMile Greenway assists other northern Virginia communities including Spotsylvania County, Fauquier County and the Town of Warrenton.

To schedule interviews or request photos, please contact Suzi Carter at Northend Greenway – 540-810-7667 or

Media contact for MillionMile Greenway: Lisa Frank – 404-255-8567 or


George Washington Regional Commission receives Technical Grant
(Fredericksburg , Virginia)

MillionMile Greenway awarded the George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) a technical grant for greenway planning on a regional scale in Northern Virginia. The GWRC is the planning commission for Virginia Planning District 16, which includes the City of Fredericksburg and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties. Greenspace and trail planning by the GWRC will protect critical greenways in some of the highest profile suburban areas of the United States.

Through our work with Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative nearby, officials of the George Washington Regional Commission applied for a technical grant from MMG.  Approved in 2009, the technical team, led by MMG board member Jesse Glasgow began working with the GWRC in the fall.

This result will be detailed maps of the region which highlight areas most suitable for new trails with emphasis on connecting featured destinations and cultural amenities.

Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative Update
(Spotsylvania County, Virginia)

Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative (SGI) made remarkable strides in 2009 as they blossomed from an idea into a full-fledged community organization with major initiatives beginning to be implemented.  They also benefited from a MillionMile Greenway Community Starter Grant in 2009.

Spotsylvania County, Virginia is located just south of Washington, DC near Fredericksburg and Richmond and other high-growth communities.  Yet the county still has a unique mix of pristine natural areas and nationally renowned historic resources adjacent to dense neighborhoods and commercial districts.

Trails are planned to connect four major Civil War national battlefields, managed by the National Park Service – Spotsylvania, Wilderness, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg.

With the help of MMG and a forward-thinking developer interested in building a lasting legacy, Luck Development Partners (LDP), SGI is partnering with county, state and regional officials to create a long-term plan to eventually connect communities and all four Civil War battlefield parks. This system will also become a component of the East Coast Greenway — connecting communities from Maine to Florida along the Atlantic coastline.

SGI is now building a demonstration trail in a wooded area along the Ni River through property owned by LDP.  Educational signs will be installed to highlight sensitive natural areas, plants and trees. Other nearby property owners are now supporting the idea of connecting to the trail.

MMG completes project for Northeast Georgia Regional Development Commission
(Athens, Georgia)

A year in the making, mapping experts with the MillionMile Greenway technical team provided the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission with a Greenway Analyst report.  Using advanced mapping technologies, recommendations on the best places to build new trails and connect existing greenways and natural areas were offered for the 12-county area in North Georgia.

Awarded the first MMG Community Technology Grant in 2008, the MMG technical team developed a siting model specific to the regional commission’s needs and terrain. John Devine, senior planner with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, provided crucial guidance.  For example, the NGRC is coordinating future rails-to-trails projects to maximize inactive railroads.  Those areas received more points than places with roads and active railways. Streams, existing greenspace and trails also received more points than developed areas.

Commissioned by the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Regional Greenway Study is an important milestone for developing bicycle and walking trails — including rails-to-trails, safe routes to school and a greenway plan for Athens-Clarke County.

One meaningful outcome is the Firefly Trail – a 39-mile future trail that uses abandoned railroad tracks to connect eight communities in North Georgia.  As they build community support and financial resources to begin construction, the new nonprofit is off to an excellent start with a professionally designed website, popular events to encourage community buy-in and a solid plan to keep people informed and engaged.

City of Dunwoody receives technical grant to map future trails
(Dunwoody, Georgia)

MillionMile Greenway awarded the city of Dunwoody a Community Technical Grant to assist with planning greenways and trails city-wide.

The grant includes expertise in customized Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, a $4,000 value that will help Dunwoody determine the best routes for future trails, linking places people want to go – on foot and on bikes.

“The city is creating a comprehensive park and recreational master plan,” according to MMG volunteer Ryan Jenkins.

There are essentially two options for the city of Dunwoody, or any city or group receiving MMG’s Technical Grant, to enhance and expand green spaces and trails.

The first is a site-specific conceptual design. This model creates individually defined areas in a community. It may include facilities like restrooms, parking, information kiosks and identifying the best places for new trails.  Completion can be expected within two or three years.

The second, a longer-term option, is a community-wide comprehensive plan. Future trails would connect neighborhoods, parks and schools to other neighborhoods, parks and schools throughout the region.  While this phase could take two to three decades to implement, the benefits, such as increased opportunities for healthy alternatives to driving and increased property values and tax revenues, are well worth the effort.