Georgia Trail Summit promotes trails for health,
clean transportation and increased income

May 2015 – Georgia has everything it takes to build a world-class trail network. A system of paved trails, natural trails and water trails could connect Georgia’s mountains, rivers, beaches and forests to hundreds of communities large and small.

That’s the vision behind the Georgia Trail Summit June 4, 5 and 6 at the Graduate in downtown Athens. The conference is organized by a dedicated group of volunteer trailblazers committed to sharing success stories and learning from each other. The first Georgia Trail Summit was so successful in 2014, attendees unanimously voted to meet annually.

“By bringing the state’s entire trail community together once a year, we are accelerating the momentum to build more trails in Georgia,” says Tracie Sanchez, Summit chair.

Who:  The Summit is open to everyone – trail users, nonprofits, elected officials, policy makers, planners, builders, advocates, designers and park managers.

Cost: Registration is $90 for the three-day event and includes some meals.

Content: View the full schedule here.
31 presentations and panel discussions with 60 Georgia trail experts highlight why certain regional trails are so popular; bicycle connectivity and long distance trails; how to promote and monetize new trails; and establishing water trails and mountain bike trails. Mobile workshops are also offered on nearby rivers and trails.

The doctor is in – talking trails
Internationally-renowned physician Dr. Richard Jackson is the keynote speaker on June 5. Jackson sees an urgent need to repurpose our cities with health in mind. He is department chair at UCLA’s School of Public Health in Los Angeles and hosted a PBS TV series on how urban design impacts healthy lifestyles. Dr. Jackson will address two of the Summit’s themes: Building a culture of health on Georgia’s trails and Trails are transportation solutions. The third theme is Trails are money makers – highlighting the impressive economic impacts trails already provide in Georgia through increased property values, tourism spending and job creation.

Consumer spending on outdoor recreation is tremendous. In 2012, about $640 billion was spent nationally; in Georgia, consumers spent $23.3 billion on outdoor recreation equipment and services, according to Georgia State Parks data.

Sponsors: MillionMile Greenway, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta Trails, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department, Bike! Walk! Northwest Georgia, Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, Stantec, UGA College of Public Health and 24 other supportive trail-related nonprofits and businesses.