Action Alert: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area invites public input on Preliminary Trails Management Plan through April 15th

In 2018 the Chattahoocheee River National Recreation Area hired outside consultants to assess every mile of trail in all units of the CRNRA. MTB Atlanta was heavily engaged in the initial stakeholder and public input during the assessment process. This trail assessment has informed a draft management plan in which the park seeks public input. We encourage all users of the park to give their input to help inform park management on the draft plan.

MTB Atlanta will be considering the changes recommended on the Sope Creek/Cochran Shoals Multi use trail which is open for mountain bikes and will send its recommendations to the National Park Service by the April 15th. deadline. You may also reach out to us via email sorbabrett@gmail.com if you have any specific questions or concerns after reviewing the trail alignment revisions.

Here is the press Release from the National Park Service and the links to engage the draft plan:

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area invites public input on Preliminary Trails Management Plan
 
SANDY SPRINGS, GA – Today, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (Chattahoochee River NRA) launched public commenting on a preliminary strategy for improving the park’s trail system.
 
Initial public commenting on the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Preliminary Trails Management Plan will open from March 15 to April 15, 2021, and include opportunities to submit written comments and participate in public meetings.
 
“We are pleased to offer this opportunity for the public to provide early input on the future of the park’s trail system,” said Acting Superintendent Elisa Kunz. “We’ve used what we have heard from our trail users in the past and designed a system that should be both more sustainable and more enjoyable, but we now need feedback from the public and our stakeholders on our effort. This feedback helps us know if we are on the right track, and where improvements might be needed.”
 
Two virtual public meetings to discuss the trails plan and answer questions about the project will take place on Thursday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. (ET), and on Friday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m. (ET). Links to join the virtual meetings may be accessed on the project website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CRNRA_Trails. During the virtual meetings, National Park Service staff will explain the plan process, showcase methods for public comment, and answer participants’ questions. The meeting presentations will be identical and interested parties are encouraged to attend the time most convenient.
 

Chattahoochee River NRA has developed two methods for submitting plan comments online. Written comments may be submitted by visiting https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CRNRA_Trails and selecting “Open for Comment” on the left menu bar and selecting “Preliminary Trails Management Plan.” There is also a second online platform that provides an interactive option for viewing trail proposals and an opportunity for the public to upload their own concerns, designs, and suggestions. It may be accessed athttps://arcg.is/1PKmna.

 

Written comments may also be submitted by mail to:

 
National Park Service
Denver Service Center
Attn: CRNRA Trails Plan / Charles Lawson
12795 West Alameda Pkwy
Denver, CO 80228
 
Written comments on the initial phase of the plan must be submitted online or postmarked by April 15, 2021 to be considered. Additional opportunities for commenting and public engagement will be offered throughout the project.
 
About the Trails Plan Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Preliminary Trails Management Plan
Within the park’s boundary are approximately 65 miles of pedestrian and mixed-use trails. Most of the existing trail system consists of legacy social trails, relict roadbeds, and utility corridors predating the park’s establishment in 1978. These legacy trails were never intentionally designed for a positive trail experience. They lack connectivity to neighboring trail systems while potentially degrading water quality through erosion runoff and impacting plant habitat. Many of the existing trails are also difficult and costly to maintain.
 
To help address the issues, the National Park Service is developing a plan for design and maintenance of an improved pedestrian and multi-use trail system for the entirety of the Chattahoochee River NRA. After working with trail users and professional trail designers, the park has developed a set of preliminary trail design proposals for each of the park’s 15 land units. The preliminary designs aim to improve the visitor experience on trails, improve the sustainability of the park’s trail system, and improve its connectivity to planned and existing regional trail systems – including the proposed Chattahoochee RiverLands Greenway (https://chattahoocheeriverlands.com/).
 
The preliminary management strategies include programmatic actions, which would apply parkwide, and specific trail designs for each unit of the park. The unit-specific trail designs are best understood by reading the descriptions and viewing the maps in the Preliminary Comprehensive Trails Plan available for download on the project website (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CRNRA_Trails).

After public comments are received, park staff will adjust the proposed strategies, as necessary, before developing the complete Trails Management Plan. There will be another opportunity to comment on the plan once it is in full draft.