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Welcome to the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association

 

Our Mission:

To promote, develop, and maintain the Georgia Pinhoti Trail System that:

  • Connects major long-distance trails in Alabama to the Appalachian Trail via the Benton MacKaye Trail, and

  • Enhances user value by connecting to and supporting establishment of local official trails

  • The Association advocates safe, environmentally sound multi-use trails shared by hikers, equestrians, and off-road bicyclists. Our activities are completed in close cooperation with the trail volunteers and various land managers, especially the U.S. Forest Service.
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    Dry Creek Trail System Grand Opening

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    The USFS-CRD is holding a Grand Opening for the new Dry Creek Trail System on Saturday, June 25, starting at 11:00 a.m. 

    In addition to short speeches from the FS, GPTA, NWGASORBA, and BCHNWG, there will be some guided rides (horses, and separate rides for bicyclists).

    Cherokee County Saddle Club will be providing and serving the food and soft drinks.  The food will be served immediately following the opening ceremonies, then the guided rides.

     

     More information on Dry Creek:     http://www.sorba.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=36258

    USFS-CRD:  US Forest Service - Conasuaga Ranger District
    GPTA: Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association
    NWGA SORBA:  Northwest Georgia IMBA/SORBA chapter
    BCHNWG: Back Country Horsemen of North West Georgia

    Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 21:12
     

    GPTA Board Meeting March 18, 2011

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    Thank you all for coming and for those that wanted to but couldn’t.   We covered a lot of material and a lot of ground

    in a very short time. We had great participation and interest from the NFS, Murray County Government, Murray County

    Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia State Parks, the Conservation Fund  and our on GPT BOD.  Please send me any

    additions that I might have left out of these notes. I didn’t take notes I am just shooting from the hip.

     

    We walked the property with an emphasis on the Conservation Property to the east of the Vann House.  We had some

    very good discussions  among various members of the group but I think the one that will move things forward was between

    Andrew Schock and David Ridley.   They will be scheduling a follow up meeting to put a plan together for the property in the

    next couple of weeks.  Dick Barnes mentioned that if we hurried we might be able to get in before the dead line of March 31st

    for some major funding that might get the shoulder and the little bridge widened on Alt 52 between the 4 way and the

    Conservation Fund Property.  Dick also said he would meet me this week to look at the exact spot to put the access for the

    entrance to the big filed off of Alt 52.  After walking this we all agreed it would be much better to cross 225 by the Vann House

    Gate  instead of at the 4 way.  After a discussion later in the evening with Jeff, the Vann House Manager and the Farmer,

    David, the best route for the Pinhoti across the field would be the shortest most direct that  follows an old access road in the

    field right up the center.


    We discussed the Dennis  Mill / Rock Creek Connector and how  to  proceed with it.  There is about 2.5 miles of trail flagged

    from Dennis Mill Rd to the gaited NFS Road.  About 1 mile of that is on a tract acquired by the Conservation fund.  There

    have already been a lot of man hours put in down there by Marty Dominy, Larry Wheat, Larry Thomas, other NFS personnel

    and some of our NWGA SORBA folks. Marty has put in a huge effort down there, actually building  about 100 yards or more

    of bench cut trail and considerable chain sawing. Larry Wheat is working on finding us somebody with the right equipment to

    build our mile  section.  He has 3 alternatives.  I committed NWGA SORBA to donate at least $1000 for fuel and maybe up

    to $2,000.  I also said we would find them a place to stay if they needed to overnight while they are working on it.  I asked

    Diana Rowe if she could get some rooms comped and if that doesn’t work out we will get some NWGA folks to put them up

    or maybe Mulberry.  If we can get this mile of trail built to sustainable levels for bikes and horse on this type of terrain for this

    kind of money I will be very happy.  David said the county is still willing and able to build the parking lot for us.  We think it will

    be the last thing we do down there not the first.  Andrew is going to get me some release forms and I am planning to take a

    group of community service people in there in April  with loppers and hand tools to clear and define the route.  I will take a

    chain saw.  The NFS is sending the public scoping letter out for their part of the  project anytime now.  The biological study

    has been done and Larry doesn’t expect any problems from the archeological study.  They are going to apply for RTP grants

    to get the funds to build their portion.

     

    Larry and Larry brought us up to speed on Dry Creek.  Most of the trail on west side of the creek is built and they expect the

    contractor to be complete by the end of April.  There has been some discussion about having a grand opening on NTD in June.

    This is a great project and hats off to Larry Wheat for grabbing this one by the horns and wrestling it down.  Also a great big

    thanks to the NFS and Larry Thomas for having the vision and the work effort to make this happen.  This project is very special

    and will be a great addition to our outdoor recreation opportunities on this district.  I believe it is 25 more miles of multi use

    sustainable trails right on the Pinhoti.

     

    We spent some time talking about how the Pinhoti can have a positive economic impact on the local economies that it touches.

    This Dry Creek Project is one type enhancement that will give locals a chance to capitalize on it with local camping,  stables and

    events.  The Pinhoti is starting to serve as a long green way across the northwest corner of the state tying  and bringing

    communities together.   We are making a significant contribution to the quality of life in North Georgia.  The Snake Creek Gap

    Mountain Bike Race Series,  the Broken Ankle Ultra Trail Marathon, and the Trans Georgia Mountain bike Race are bringing

    national attention to our trail system.

     

    We had some  discussion about some organizational  issues involving Friends of Parks in Rome and Floyd County and the Simms

    Mountain Trail. Larry Madden and Mike Leonard are working this one.  There is still a bridge out on the Simms Mountain Trail

    due to vandalism.  I will try to get down there and blaze a detour around it.


    Marty brought us up to speed on the Great Eastern Trail with a focus on the routing through Chattanooga, and Point Park on

    Lookout Mountain. We had some discussion around leasing the Conservation Fund Properties until we can resolve ownership

    over the next couple of years.  Andrew and Mike are going to work out the details.


    We didn’t do any administrative work like elect new officers.  I figure we will just keep rolling as we are unless you guys want

    to have a recall. You folks are indeed a pleasure to work with.  I am blown away by your dedication and expertise.  I don’t

    know how we all found our way to this board but I am glad each of you did.

     

    Rick

     

     

    More Chief Vann House and Rock Creek Pictures Here!

     

     

     

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 02:41
     

    Trans North Georgia Bike Adventure

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    The Trans North Georgia (TNGA) is a 350 mile mountain bike route through the mountains of North Georgia on trails, forest roads and paved
    roads featuring challenging terrain, beautiful scenery and over 56000 feet of climbing. The route utilizes the Pinhoti Trail, almost exclusively
    from its Eastern Terminus to Simms Mountain.

    Starting in 2004, it took nearly 4 years to come up with the route. One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to get from Bear Creek
    to Dalton. There were several options, but they all included long stretches of either pavement or gravel road. Fortunately, the sections of the Pinhoti
    connecting Bear Creek to Ramhurst were also completed during that time, providing a direct, singletrack-heavy route through that region.

    The TNGA route begins at the South Carolina border on Highway 28, in Rabun county, the northeast corner of Georgia.
    For the first few hundred miles, it winds through Warwoman, along the Tallulah River, over Trey Mountain, over Hogpen, along Duncan
    Ridge, over Stanley Gap, and up through Cashes Valley, mostly following forest service roads, jeep trails and pavement, but punctuated
    with short, challenging sections of singletrack. At Dyer Gap, the route picks up the South Fork Trail, followed quickly by the Pinhoti.
    It diverges a bit, sending riders down Bear Creek rather than Mountaintown, but otherwise follows the Pinhoti all the way to Simms
    Mountain. From there, riders take about 4 miles of pavement to the Alabama border on Highway 20.

    While very scenic, the route is also very difficult, featuring more climbing per mile than other routes of its kind. The
    climbs are long, the descents are technical, offering little opportunity for recovery, and the elevation profile is misleading. A rider
    might be tempted to think that the route eases up west of Dalton, only to get there and find themselves on the Snake Creek Gap Time Trial
    course.

    In 2008, David Muse led a series of group rides along the route, during which, he, Russell Sandidge and Travis Knight completed
    all sections.  In May of 2010, Daivd Muse, Johnny Garner and Norma Rainwater completed a contiguous ride-through. With the help of Mulberry
    Gap, MTBCast, Trackleaders.com and Rick Moon of NWGA SORBA, the Trans North Georgia Mountain Bike Adventure was held in September of 2010.
    Eighteen riders from seven states challenged each other to complete the route. Twelve riders succeeded. All twelve broke the previous course
    record. Eddie O'Dea finished first and holds the current course record. Hopefully the TNGA Mountain Bike Adventure will become an annual event
    along the lines of the Colorado and Arizona Trail Races out west.

    Information on the route, including maps and gps data is available at:

    TNGA Route Information

    Information about the TNGA Mountain Bike Adventure is available at:

    TNGA Event Information

     

    By David Muse

     

     

     

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 02:53
     

    Pinhoti Trail Opens New Connector Trail

    Pinhoti Trail Opens New Connector Trail

    By Larry Wheat

    I suspect that most readers are unaware of, and certainly have not ridden, the regional Pinhoti Trail portion that lies on an old railroad bed west of Rome and south of Summerville, GA.  The Friday and Holland sections of the Pinhoti share these 12 miles with the Simm’s Mountain Trail.  Equestrians, fat-tire bikers, and hikers enjoy this flat, all-weather surface trail.  Until now it has not been used by many equestrians because parking and easy access were not available.  That has changed and now this location is expected to see more use, especially by equestrians. 

     

    The railroad bed trail is about one mile from the US Forest Service High Point trailhead that provides considerable equestrian rig parking space and toilets.  Going north, the Pinhoti Trail crosses through the parking lot and climbs the adjacent mountain, then goes northward toward Dalton and east to the Cohutta Mountains.  Hopes of riding south from the trailhead were realized when The Conservation Fund purchased 242 acres of private timberland that lies between the Forest Service trailhead and the railroad trail.  This was done to provide an easement for the Pinhoti Trail.  A Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association (GPTA) volunteer designed a connector trail and other local volunteers cleared brush and some trees.  On April 6, 2010, the initial trail tread cut-in was completed using a mini-excavator generously donated and operated by Dr. Ken Humber, of Humberland Guest Ranch near Waleska.  This provides a safe dirt surface trail that allows equestrians (and others) to park at the High Point trailhead and ride to the railroad trail.  Essentially, this opens about 12 miles of trail to equestrians.  I have ridden both the connector and the railroad trail, and recommend this ride for everyone. 

     

    The photo above shows Dr. Ken cutting in the tread on rather flat land.  Much of the new connector is flat pine woods.  The photo below left shows that there are also some hills in the trail, mainly as one approaches the railroad trail.        

     

    The resulting tread path is about 4-feet wide as shown here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The High Point trailhead is shown to the left, and two riders on the railroad bed trail are shown on the right.

    Now that you know about this new riding opportunity, your question may be “How do I find the High Point trailhead?”  Here are the directions:

     

    Directions to High Point Lookout Parking Lot on Georgia Highway 100

    This location is about eight miles south of Summerville (GA) on the east side of state highway 100.  Hwy 100 runs north-south near the Alabama border.  From Rome you may go west on state highway 20 to highway 100, then go north several miles.  You will see the parking lot and a large sign that contains “Pinhoti Trail Parking, Chattahoochee National Forest.”

    For those driving from the north or east, you may get on US 27 and drive to Summerville.  In Summerville take Georgia highway 100 south about eight miles and look for the parking lot sign on the east side of the highway. 

     

    This is a large parking lot with plenty of room for many large horse rigs.  Pit toilets are available.  There is not any water source at the trailhead.

      

     

    Snake Creek Gap Six Mountain Time Trial Series

    Snake Creek runs out of a mountain gap in North Georgia.The gap is famous for being the pass that Sherman snuck his army through on his way to the final battles of the American Civil War. This gap is now becoming known for battles of a different kind. The first Saturday of the months of January, February and March the Northwest Georgia Chapter of IMBA/SORBA holds a time trial series in this gap. This event started off in 2005 with about 50 riders. It has grown every year to this year’s total of 380 riders.

    Why would people come in these numbers to Dalton Georgia in the middle of the winter from 15 states and Canada to ride mountain bikes? This race is put on by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We know what we like and try to give the best we can to our riders. The series is held on the IMBA Epic Georgia Pinhoti Trail with two distance options: 17 or 34 miles. Both are point to point. The 17 milers start at the halfway point of the 34 mile distance which is right in the middle of Snake Creek Gap. There are 2 mountains in the first 17 mile segment and 4 in the second.

    The course gets progressively more technical over the last 8 miles on Hurricane Mt. and Rocky Face Ridge. The trail runs right on the razor back edge of these mountains with views off both sides. It is beautiful but you better not take time to enjoy the view. The riders are racing to the finish line at the North Georgia Trade and Convention Center a stones threw of I-75 at Exit 333 in Dalton. This is where they registered and left their cars.

    The riders and their bikes are shuttled to their starting lines. It is an awesome sight to see 300 bikes loaded on trailers and trucks. The riders are taken in buses, vans and cars. It looks like a big mountain bike parade when they rollout of the parking lot. They are started and timed individually in true time trial format. The times are kept for the 3 events and your best time counts. The entry fee is for the series. It is your choice how many times you ride it. We run it in some pretty harsh conditions. In six years we have never called it due to weather. The weather down here can be anywhere from 20 to 65 degrees. I think we had it all this year.

    The awards are given out at the big party after the March run. A good time is had by all. Usually by March Spring is breaking out and it is a great way to get a jump on the riding season. Money raised from the event goes to support mountain biking in Northwest Georgia. The local Boys’ and Girls’ Club helps us with the shuttle buses and we help them with their mountain bike program. They have 50 mountain bikes and a trailer to haul them. We are helping them build a pump track on their property and donated $2,500 to the cause this year.

    You can see the results of this year’s event on nwgasorba.org.Watch the pictures scroll across the top of the home page and see what we are about.

     

     

     
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