Fast and fun: Trail builder putting together Pinhoti trail re-route
Getting rid of invasive species on a tract of land in Southern Floyd County and Northern Polk County is lending itself to a new opportunity near Cave Spring.
The recent logging, meant to uproot those invasive species, destroyed some existing multi-use trails on the Pinhoti Trail near Santa Claus Mountain but the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association called in a trail-builder with a well-known pedigree to create a re-route.
Barry Smith, the namesake of the Chattanooga-based Barry Smith Trails, was called in to do the work. Smith is bringing a big reputation for building trail systems and is known for building several well known trail systems including Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga.
In mountain biking terms the Pinhoti is generally considered difficult riding with lots of climbing but this one re-route Smith said is geared more toward people having fun.
“It’s going to ride like Enterprise South (Nature Trails in Chattanooga, Tennessee),” Smith said. They’re putting in around 20 days worth of work cutting in the multi-use trails.
“Although this is a linear trail you could build all kinds of loops,” he said looking around at the land. “It’s a really good footprint and you could put any kind of trail out here — flow trails, fun and fast.”
Marty Dominy of the GPTA did the design on the approximately three mile re-route of the trail.
The area, approximately 1,000 acres owned by the Conservation Fund, near the Floyd/Polk border is home to the trails and the section Smith is working on is a re-route of a portion of the trail after logging in the area.
“There are a lot of invasive species, we’re going to try and clean up,” Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association President Rick Moon said. “It’s a good thing.”
The next few weeks and months we’ll work on volunteer and hiking opportunities to help finish and blaze the trail, Moon said.
The trails are located near Ga. 100 South of Cave Spring are on a tract of land near Santa Claus Mountain on the border of Floyd and Polk County. They are part of the 300 plus mile of the multi use Pinhoti Trail system which stretches across Northern Georgia and into Alabama.
Moon said the Pinhoti is dependent on locals to build and maintain the trails.
“We really are looking for local volunteers to get involved with that trail — to build it, use it and love it. That’s what it needs,” Moon said. Volunteers don’t just have to be local. Carter Pullen, a freshman at Gordon Lee High school, and a member of the Pinhoti Vipers Team — a member of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association middle and high school mountain bike racing league — has already spent time working with the trail as part of a school project.
Carter is working on a Future Farmers of America project which requires volunteering in the community.
There are businesses who have made their name on being located next to the Pinhoti Trail. Moon cited Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway in Ellijay. The business, located near the trails, has cabins and hosts several races throughout the year which in addition to building their business also benefit the trails.
Cave Spring has been hoping to build a similar relationship. The Trans North Georgia Adventure bike race began using the trails as part of its annual race in 2017.
“It has a lot of value locally,” Moon said.
Carter Pullen is working on a Future Farmers of America project which requires volunteering in the community and will be show how healthy forestry practices are essential to the economy, environment and how it overlaps with recreation to build a stronger community.