Alapaha Greenway Trail?

A Greenway Trail is an onland version of the sort of Blueways or Water Trails WWALS is working on. WWALS board member Chris Graham got a very nice spread in one of the Lakeland newspapers today about Greenways, speaking for himself. -jsq

Lanier County Advocate, 4 June 2014, Page 12, Local nature enthusiast hoping to bring Greenway Trail to Lakeland,

Naylor native Christopher Graham has spent the majority of his life exploring the great outdoors every chance he gets.

Currently, Graham serves on the board of the Water Shed group to help ensure local rivers are clean and safe for citizens to enjoy. But what Graham has been striving for is to bring a Greenway Trail to the local area.

What are Greenway Trails?

According to Graham, “Greenways are corridors of protected open space managed for conservation and recreation purposes. Greenways often follow natural land and water features and link nature reserves, parks and cultural features and historic sites with each other and with populated areas. Greenways can be publicly or privately owned and some are the public and private partnerships.

“Greenway trails provide a vast network linking America’s places. This is why we want to establish Greenway t[r]ails in our community. Trails positively impact individuals and improve communities, but also can influence economic and community development.

“The ecological benefits of Greenway trails can help communities mitigate cost associated with the control of water and air pollution and flood management. Americans living in rural, suburban and urban communities are demanding that green places be protected as a way to maintain their quality of life. Local governments are finding they can no longer permit poorly planned development if they compete for the residents and businesses and pay for the infrastructure cost associated with sprawling growth.

“Greenway trails have the power to connect us to our heritage by preserving historic places and by providing access to them. They can give people a sense of place and an understanding of the enormity of the past event, such as Native American trails and a battle field. Trails draw the public to historical sites. “This is why having these trails in our community can attract visitors from near and far.

“If the greenway trails are on privately owned property the property will increase in value and the flood insurance could drop as low as 25% as well. Owners could get tax breaks as well, so there [are] a lot of benefits for the land owners and the communities also benefit from this because they can learn all about invasive species on these trails. They can map it and report it to a SEEDN app on any smart phone or tablet. Plus they can do some water testing or monitor to see how clean the water is to drink on these trails near water sources.

“There [are] countless things people can learn about nature. Specially on a journey into the beautiful remote wilderness, which they will cherish for a lifetime.

“I would like to see the Alapaha River Greenway trails that would follow the river path that would be about a 190 mile journey in this beautiful jungle like wilderness. Some people can’t afford to take themselves or their kids up to the mountain to do amazing hiking adventure. I believe there [is] a way to bring these awesome nature trails to south Georgia if the communities will come together as a team. But anyway how to get greenway trails, there [are] a few ways to get it. There are government grants that we can apply for. Or we could try the hard way to get all the riverfront propertyon side to give an easement for the greenways trail.

“Which most public access boat ramp on one side of the river. I did talk to a couple of landowners. They liked the idea, but they had a few concerns:

  1. what was the liability of someone getting hurt on their property because of the trail on there;
  2. greenways trail will increase property value; does that increase taxes as well?
  3. most of these properties are used for hunting, but Georgia law says can’t shoot within 100 feet of a river.

“So there are a few things that we have got to look into more to make both parties happy. But it going to take the whole community to pull this off and convince the land owner it’s a good asset to the communities and the state of Georgia.”