EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Hi-Lo Trail, stretching from Athens all the way to Savannah, if completed, would become the longest paved trail in the country.
A lofty goal that requires collaboration across eight counties, one of those being Effingham County.
“In rural America there were really no alternative transportation options. If you want to get on your bike and go somewhere you have to get on a busy road,” says Georgia Hi-Lo Trail Executive Director Mary Charles Howard.
It was that very issue that first sparked the idea for the trail two years ago.
“I thought let’s bring that trail to my front door, and we’re in the middle of nowhere, so while we’re doing that lets bring it all the way to Savannah,” said Howard.
The Hi-Lo Trail when connected with the Firefly Trail in Athens would stretch 250 miles.
But of course, to make it work it will take the support of counties and communities along the route.
“Effingham County really came to our attention at the Georgia Hi-Lo Trail really early on in the project,” said Howard.
Namely it came to the attention of Bike Effingham’s Ashley Parker.
“Strategically and geographically we fit right into their map,” Parker says.
Not only does it fit into their map, but Parker feels it fits with the goal of county.
“The board of commissioners website, right on their website, their motto is to create healthy citizens.”
But to make it a reality also means backing the trail financially.
“From day one the Mayor of Guyton he has been a big supporter,” said Howard.
Mayor Russ Deen and the city of Guyton already contributing the required $3,250 to the project.
“We believe the Hi-Lo Trail is a great way for our city to grow economically without growing on a huge scale,” said Mayor Deen.
A great start, but the trail still needs another $3.250 from the county itself and $7,500 from the private sector, $1,700 of which Parker has raised himself.
Money he sees as an investment.
“You’re making an investment in the health and the future of this county and this area.”
We did reach out to Effingham County who tell us a vote on contributing their part of the funds has not been set at this time.
If you’d like to donate click here.