Sweet Trails tour stops in Atmore

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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The Sweet Trails Alabama Swing Around the State Tour sopped in Atmore Oct. 4, and a new flip chart was needed.

The purpose of the Sweet Trails Alabama Swing Around the State Tour is to kickoff a year-long initiative that will identify existing trails and locate possible new routes in all 67 counties in Alabama.

This statewide trail route plan will identify possible routes, trail communities, outdoor recreation economy sites and highlight how the Sweet Trails Alabama project can create new opportunities in health and wellness, tourism, economic development, entrepreneurial growth, quality of life, workforce development, community engagement and natural resource conservation.

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“Greenways create connections and opportunities,” Sweet Trails’ John Kvach said. “Post COVID, a lot of people needed to be reminded of the outdoors.”

Kvach said the trails benefit peoples’ health and wellness, along with economic development as well.

“The legacy we are leaving is a positive one,” he said.

The project’s founding was through Senate Bill 298, which states, “Relating to outdoor recreation; to provide for the development of a strategic trail network; to provide for grants for qualified donations of donated property; to create the Sweet Trails Alabama Project Fund and the Sweet Trails Alabama Acquisition Fund and provide for the use of monies in the funds; and to further provide for the liability of property owners for recreational use of certain property and abutting property.”

Community members, stakeholders and other members of the public attended the tour stop in Atmore.

Suggestions for the trail network here included connecting Magnolia Branch and Wildlife Reserve to Little River State Forest, having trail amenities to name a few.

The Sweet Trails Alabama Statewide Trails Plan schedule includes a steering committee meeting number 2, field analysis, local stakeholder meetings by geography; and identifying gaps in the network for winter 2023-24. The spring and summer months of 2024 include committee meetings, economic impact assessment, development of draft and final plans, and implementation of plans.The tour included stops in Huntsville, Florence, Tuscaloosa, Selma, Atmore, Dothan, Montgomery, Birmingham and Jacksonville, and is sponsored by the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. These nine Alabama RC&D Councils are made of volunteers who identify the unmet needs in their communities and create solutions across Alabama.

The tour concluded Oct. 6.

For more information, visit www.sweettrailsalabama.org.