Walk, Run or Ride the Firefly Trail on May 24th

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Everyone is invited to explore the new Firefly Trail at a free event Thursday, May 24, from 6:30-8 p.m. on the new trail in East Athens.

All parts of the nearly 1-mile first segment of the trail are open and in use, from East Broad Street to Old Winterville Road. Participants in Thursday's event are invited to start at any point and go at their own pace for as much of the trail as they wish.

Firefly Trail Inc., a nonprofit organization partnering with communities to finish the Firefly Trail from Athens to Union Point, will provide information, water (donated by First American Bank) and light refreshments in their tent, which will be set up at Old Winterville Road trailhead.

"People often think of multi-purpose trails like the Firefly as bicycle trails, but they are perfect for all non-motorized uses, including walking, running, biking, active transportation, strollers and wheelchairs," said event organizer Doug Kleiber, a Firefly Trail Board member. "We want the community, especially those who live close to the new trail, to know that it is there for them and their families."

The trail is 14 feet wide, paved, and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, making it suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Wheelchairs (including power chairs), strollers, bikes with training wheels, skateboards and friendly dogs on leashes are welcome. Because the trail uses the historic corridor of the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch, it is flat and level. However, at most access points, it is necessary to climb gentle, paved slopes to reach the trail. A gap in the trail at Dudley Park will be bridged with funding from last year's successful Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax referendum.

The first segment of the Firefly Trail can be accessed from East Broad Street, Dudley Park, Poplar Street, Peter Street, Inglewood Avenue and Old Winterville Road. Free parking is available at Dudley Park, the Poplar Street Greenway lot, and the Oconee Street Park and Ride lot (use the traffic signal to cross Oconee Street).

People who would like a longer trail experience are invited to run, walk or ride the North Oconee River Greenway north from Dudley Park or explore the new Greenway Extension southeast from Oconee Street at Grove Street Extension. Both greenways connect to the Firefly Trail.