In The News: Group hopes to blaze trail to greener future
(Fredricksburg, Virginia)

Spotsylvania trails coalition hopes to link ribbons of green space for hiking, recreation and transportation

Spotsylvania County has about 22 miles of bike and fitness trails, according to a recent study.

Chris Folger, who heads up the fledgling Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative, thinks there should be a lot more available in one of the region’s fastest-growing localities.

Read the whole article from here!

The MillionMile Greenway Celebrates Official Launch and Recognizes Affiliates
(Atlanta, Georgia)

Organization Dedicated to Conserving and Connecting Greenspace Celebrates Launch on Jan. 14

ATLANTA (January 9, 2009) – The MillionMile Greenway (MMG), a nonprofit dedicated to conserving greenspace, providing public recreation space and connecting existing greenspace, will officially launch to the public on Jan. 14 with a party at 1010 Midtown.

Founded in 2007 to help private citizens, nonprofit groups and government planning offices conserve greenspace, MMG provides tools and consulting services toward creating and maintaining greenspace in local communities. In addition, MMG is working to connect communities’ greenspace throughout Georgia and the United States.

To facilitate the connection of local greenspace, MMG has established partnerships with a number of regional conservation organizations within the past year. Among the MMG affiliates is the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC).

MMG founder Jim Langford says ATC will be an important partner in the collaborative effort to achieve one million miles of connected greenspace. “The Appalachian Trail is one of the best examples in the nation of conserving and connecting greenspace for public enjoyment despite extraordinary population growth,” said Langford. “The ATC’s more than 2,000 miles of trail will be a crucial link to connecting surrounding greenspace throughout the eastern United States.”

ATC Executive Director David Startzell noted the benefits of the partnership for the Appalachian Trail and the people who enjoy it. “Partnering with the MillionMile Greenway will allow us to better connect with local communities, expanding a network of interconnected greenspace that provides critical ecological services across the Appalachian highland region. The AT is a 280,000-acre greenway that serves as a major artery for other connected greenways along our path. Through our new alliance, ATC and MMG can provide improved services related to recreation and natural resource protection in many trail-side communities,” Startzell said.

In addition to ATC, other MMG affiliates include: Coastal Georgia Greenway, Inc.; The Atlanta Beltline Partnership; Friends of Mountains to Sea Trail; Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association, Inc.; Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia; Madison Greenway and Trails; Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center; Northern Virginia/Spotsylvania County/East Coast Greenway Alliance; PATH Foundation; Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation; and Yahoola Creek Trails Conservancy.

Current board and committee members will be available at the launch party to discuss volunteer, membership and grant opportunities. The launch event at 1010 Midtown (Peachtree St. and 12th) from 6-8 p.m. is open to all members of MMG and the public. Visit to join or for more information.




The MillionMile Greenway is an organization and a system of connected greenways across metro Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the southeastern United States and beyond. MMG is intended to be an empowering organization that helps local individuals and communities begin or expand their efforts at conservation and recreation. MMG works to build local constituencies, programs and agendas that will benefit all conservation and recreation organizations in Georgia and beyond.

MillionMile Greenway announces first grantees
(Atlanta, Georgia)

MillionMile Greenway announced the first-ever recipients of the organization’s grant program. Through grants and volunteer expertise, MMG will mentor and fund nonprofits dedicated to preserving green space and building trails across the southeast. The first grant recipients are Yahoola Creek Trails Conservancy, Coastal Georgia Greenway and Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.

Yahoola Creek Trails Conservancy and Coastal Georgia Greenway are both recipients of community starter grants which provide $1,500 in cash along with up to $10,000 in pro bono marketing and technology consulting services. The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission will receive a Community Technology Grant, which provides up to $5,000 in pro bono technology consulting services using impressive mapping technology.

Grants were awarded based on the groups’ conservation activity, connections or proximity to other greenways and trails, and opportunities for enhancing recreation opportunities.

MillionMile Greenway founder and president, Jim Langford, who oversaw the selection process with the group’s board said, “These first grant recipients epitomize ideal greenway projects.  They’re filling a need in their communities, they are well supported there, and they are well on their way to providing solutions to greenway challenges. Our hope is that with our support, they can see their efforts come to fruition faster and more effectively.”

About the grant recipients

Yahoola Creek Trails Conservancy (YCTC) uses advocacy, education, research, communication, cooperation and monitoring to protect and preserve the Yahoola Creek Trail System and its watershed, ultimately creating greenspace corridors within Lumpkin County. Lumpkin County and the City of Dahlonega jointly own a drinking water reservoir and the surrounding 240 acres. This land is undeveloped, scenic and within one-half mile of the city center of Dahlonega. YCTC works closely with city and county officials to plan, design and build a new 3.3 mile trail circling reservoir and provides controlled, passive access to this public greenspace.

Coastal Georgia Greenway will work with Georgia’s six coastal counties and numerous cities to build a 155-mile trail to link South Carolina to Florida. This trail will be a significant component of the national East Coast Greenway that will connect from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. Highlights of the Coastal Georgia-East Coast Greenway Trail are its impressive connections between existing wildlife preserves, natural areas, parks and historic districts – over 115,800 acres. The trail, lying within the Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Corridor and the Altamaha Scenic-Historic Byway, will provide non-motorized access to these sites, increasing visitation and awareness of coastal Georgia’s natural beauty.

Northeast Georgia Regional Commission was contracted by the Georgia DOT to perform bicycle and pedestrian planning for the 2008 – 2009 fiscal year. The Regional Greenways Study is a component of this contract, which also includes funding for rails-to-trails, safe routes to school, and a localized greenway plan for Athens-Clarke County. The study will provide a broad framework for the regional commission’s greenway and trail planning for 12 counties and 54 cities.

In the News: Nonprofit envisions greenways far and wide
(Atlanta, Georgia)

By Maria Saporta
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/13/08

Imagine a million miles of greenways across metro Atlanta, the state and the nation —- connecting hundreds of communities with parks, waterways and trails. That’s the vision of the newly formed MillionMile Greenway, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that will work with communities to help them develop green spaces and trails that will interlock with greenways in other communities.

The champion behind this vision is Jim Langford, a longtime entrepreneur and environmentalist.

Between 2004 and 2007, Langford served as state director of the Trust for Public Land and was instrumental in the organization’s investment in buying parkland near the 22-mile Beltline around Atlanta’s core.

TPL, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, also helped preserve hundreds of acres of green space along the Chattahoochee River from Helen to Columbus.

Langford has observed the skyrocketing popularity of land conservation and greenways by the public. DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties have all passed multimillion-dollar bond referendums to preserve open spaces and parks in the midst of rapid development.

But Langford also realized there was a void in the region’s environmental landscape. Some of the fastest-growing counties outside the core didn’t have the organizational ability to implement a green space plan or an acquisition program.

“Looking at the spectrum of the 25 metro counties out there, only four or five are strong enough to do a bond referendum,” Langford said. “I started to look around to see who could go out and help those other communities.”

Although there are several conservation and environmental organizations in the state, none was designed for an outreach effort with the outlying suburban counties still trying to form a green space plan. Most organizations, like TPL, were “transaction-oriented,” designed to help buy specific tracts.

So after he left TPL a year ago, Langford began talking to other environmental and civic leaders about creating an organization that could fill that void.

Langford drafted Ryan Gravel, who as a student at Georgia Tech first proposed the concept of the Beltline.

Gravel’s response to Langford was: “This is like the Beltline, only bigger.”

In June 2007, MillionMile Greenway was incorporated as a nonprofit.

It just announced its board: Gravel, who now practices urban design with Perkins+Will; Jesse Glasgow, program manager for Photo Science, which is helping develop technological tools for communities; Angela Graham of Silverman Construction Program Management (and formerly with TPL); Phillip Hoover, a partner with Smith, Gambrell & Russell; Tom Parker, a vice president for Georgia Transmission Corp.; Susan Rutherford, manager of the Greenway Division for the city of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management; Bo Spalding, a founding partner of the Jackson Spalding communications firm; and Robert Turner, who practices transactional law at Stites & Harbison.

Langford also is on the board and serves as MillionMile Greenway’s president. He continues to serve as a consultant for Linger Longer’s Jekyll Island redevelopment proposal (which will include a network of greenways with bicycle and pedestrian paths).

The organization has just launched its Web site: www It also is beginning a fund-raising and membership drive. It has received more than $100,000 in pro bono services.

And it already is working on several pilot projects.

For example, the group is working with Newton County. Using mapping technology made available by Georgia Transmission, it is helping the county and its residents locate the optimal areas for greenways.

The group also is working with community leaders to provide the expertise to implement greenway plans.

“This needs to be a community-focused, citizen-focused initiative,” Langford said. “We want to empower local communities.”

In addition to the software and technical expertise, the organization is working on a tool kit to give its community partners on the various ways to conserve land and build greenways. As the community groups evolve and partner with their local governments, Langford said the intent would be to connect them with TPL and other conservation groups to help acquire land, and to work with the PATH Foundation to help build bicycle and pedestrian trails.

“People love trails, and they’re very inexpensive to build,” Langford said. “We want to help build the organizational infrastructure in each community so they can build parks and trails.”

MillionMile Greenway also has other pilot projects under way. It is working with Georgia’s coastal counties to create a greenway initiative. It also is working with three counties near Athens on a similar plan.

And Langford has been working with areas in Northern Virginia on a greenway system that connects Civil War battlegrounds. The Virginia and Georgia coast pilot projects are being done in concert with the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

“We want to sow seeds everywhere,” Langford explained.

For him, success in five years would be to work on projects in a number of states, help create numerous local greenway initiatives, have a membership base in the thousands and create interconnecting greenways between the various local organizations.

It’s all about watching communities grow organically, Langford said. “We want people to create greenways in their own backyards.”

The need for more greenways and parks is becoming even more critical, given that metro Atlanta continues to lose about 50 acres of green space every day.

MillionMile Greenway’s vision can capture the imagination of communities —- large and small —- throughout our region, our state and our nation.