Bartram Trail earned national recognition that some hope will translate into profits down the road. (WRDW-TV / June 24, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, June 24, 2012
CLARKS HILL, Ga. -- Cyclists are heading out after this week's USA Cycling Championship, but some locals are hoping to attract off-road cyclers. A trail right here in our area is getting national attention.
The Bartram Trail is already a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers, but a new designation by the U.S. Department of Interior has made it a nationally recognized trail.
"It's a very big deal, and we hope that we're gonna get a lot of visitors," said Paul Farrow with the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association.
"When the Department of Interior names one of these trails, it's really noticing that there is a fantastic recreation resource," said David Quebedeaux, a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "There's an opportunity for people to get out and hike and bike on a trail that is far above what other trails in the nation would be."
This trail and 53 others across the country received the National Recreation Trail distinction this year.
It's a recognition cyclers like John Pilcher say is very important.
"You'd wanna find out one that has designations because obviously if you do, they're good trails," Pilcher said.
To Pilcher, the designation is something he counts on when he's looking for a trail to ride.
"Just to know that these are trails that have been taken care of and are well used," he said.
One of the important things that comes with this designation is keeping these trails clean. SORBA volunteers go out about once a month, making sure that bricks like these stay in their place and keep it safe for everybody who comes out on the trails.
With this new designation, they're hoping that number will increase bringing people from throughout the country to the area.
"It puts us on a map, on a more national basis so that other people can find it," Quebedeaux said.
Right now SORBA is also working to install new directional signs throughout the whole trail. Over the next few weeks, they will be putting out the national recreation trail plaques throughout the area.