After more than two years of community meetings and design work, the mother of all master plans for a multi-use recreational trail along the Chattahoochee River has been presented.
It would connect more than 100 miles of existing and new trails and establish new water access points, including a pedestrian bridge over the river connecting Hyde Farm in East Cobb to Fulton County.
That’s one of the many components of the Chattahoochee RiverLands project, led by the non-profit Trust for Public Land, and conducted in conjunction with the Atlanta Regional Commission, Cobb County Government and the City of Atlanta.
It’s being conceived as a major public recreational resource for a significant slice of metro Atlanta, bordering and in proximity to several counties and nearly 20 cities.
In July the nearly 300-page Chattahoochee RiverLands final report was issued (you can read/download it here), laying out a variety of recreational options between Buford Dam near Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee Bend State Park near Newnan.
In between is a stretch of the Chattahoochee bordering East Cobb that contains trailheads of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area: the Gold Branch, Johnson Ferry North and Columns Drive.
Hyde Farm, 42 acres of greenspace that’s used by Cobb Parks and Recreation for educational and recreational purposes, would be part of that connectivity. The National Park Service also has been looking at a possible corridor trail closing a two-mile gap between Hyde Farm and Johnson Ferry North.
(On Saturday there’s a free walking tour of Hyde Farm, as there is the first Saturday of each month).
The Chattahoochee RiverLands proposal would hook up Hyde Farm with the Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs via a pedestrian bridge.
That’s a 30-acre park run by the City of Sandy Springs with picnic space, walking trails and a seasonal paddle shack.
Branching out from the Chattahoochee River greenway would be a network of blueways (water tributaries), parks and other recreational destinations.
The RiverLands project would have 25 trailheads in all, about 5 miles apart, with 43 water access points, 26 existing and 17 proposed.
It’s a grand vision, to be sure, and the work included the creation of the Chattahoochee Working Group, with than 120 stakeholders, among them the Chattahoochee River National Park Conservancy, the Cumberland Community Improvement District and the U.S. National Park Service, which oversees the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
There’s not a cost or timetable for the RiverLands project, but according to portions of the report’s recommendations, hundreds of millions of dollars would be required and a couple of decades would be needed for completion.
Those costs would include land acquisition in addition to construction of bridges and trails, which would be for pedestrians and bicycling.
The Chattahoochee RiverLands site has other portions of the report available for download, as well as interactive maps.
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