Thanks to the generosity of donors like YOU, Firefly Trail, Inc., has committed over $300,000 to trail communities to assist them with required matches for major grants. Securing additional significant grants will be vital if we are to complete the Firefly Trail. And, without FTI’s grant match assistance, some trail communities cannot afford to build the trail, much as they may want to do so.
The key goal of the FTI 2022 Year-End Giving Campaign is to begin replenishing grant matching funds so essential to completing our trail in the next several years.
Once again we are calling on YOU to help. Donations can be made online via Credit Card, Google Pay, PayPal, or Venmo. If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to “Firefly Trail, Inc.” and mail it to:
Treasurer, Firefly Trail, Inc.
345 Lyndon Ave.
Athens GA 30601
Donations of any amount are warmly welcomed!
Firefly Trail Inc. Board member Brad Averill brings his national award-winning Walk-a-Weigh health and wellness program to the Firefly Trail at Dudley Park. The first session is this Saturday, October 22nd, at 9 a.m. and it's FREE!
Join the Southeast Striders on Sunday September 25th for their introductory guided group walk.
5k Guided Group Walk
1A walk rating
Start Point: Dudley Park, Cook & Brother Plaza, 1177 East Broad Street, Athens, Georgia
Registration: 2:00 p.m.
Step Off: 2:15 p.m.
There are a few designated parking spaces for the Oconee River Greenway at the entrance and more ahead. On weekdays, avoid parking in UGA designated spaces by continuing ahead and parking on the right side. Parking is plentiful. Restrooms are just after the start of the walk.
Railroad History in Athens, Georgia
Cook and Brother Confederate Armory
Charles Aguar Plaza
Firefly Rails To Trails
Bring your water, sunhat if you need it and meet us in the parking lot. Look for the Green and Yellow flags. If you bring a sticky return address label, it makes registration much quicker. All walks are $3. However, this introductory walk is a follow up of recent presentations on walking with America's Walking Club/Southeast Striders and will be free of charge.
Side Note: Popular walk times are 8-8:30 am Saturdays, 2:00 pm Sunday afternoons for 5k and 10k walks. Fun Walks are shorter, done during weekdays and may start at 8:30-9:00 am or 5:30- 6:00 pm.
Email email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to let us know what your preferences are for future walks.
Want to walk, run or ride the newest part of the Firefly Trail in Athens-Clarke County but not sure where to park? ACC has now opened the parking area at the Streets & Drainage Office at 605 Spring Valley Road for trail users. You can park in the main parking lot on weekends and after 5 p.m. during the week. Please do NOT park in front of the gated entrance on the right; crews may need emergency access. The facility is directly across Spring Valley Road from the trail, very close to its current end at Hancock Road. From here, it's about 1.7 miles to the Race Trac at Old Winterville Road and 2.3 miles to Dudley Park and the North Oconee River Greenway. Use caution crossing Spring Valley Road – and have fun!
Check out this new map of bicycle Fixit Stations in Athens-Clarke County, including the Karen Tinsley Memorial Fixit Station on the Firefly Trail in Dudley Park. Under a new agreement between Bike Athens, ACC Leisure Services and the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, Bike Athens is providing their skilled hands to care for the stations on park property. Bike Athens' Scott Long created the great map showing Fixit Station locations!
Each Fixit Station provides a stand, a pump, and an assortment of tools that bike riders can use to make adjustments and minor repairs. It's part of developing a bike-friendly network on and near the multi-purpose trails in Athens-Clarke. Thanks, ACC, ORGC, Scott, and Bike Athens!
The Maxeys Model Mile 5K just gets better and better. This May 21st was the event’s fourth running, and race director Anne Garner and the Maxeys community outdid themselves once again.
A total of 268 registrations were received, surpassing last year’s previous high of 255. The 2022 figure includes 139 race morning runners and walkers plus 36 “virtual” participants, who completed their 5Ks on their own the week leading up to the event. The remaining 93 registered as “Phantom” or non-participating event supporters.
While Georgia supplied most of the registrations (247 in all, representing 48 towns across the state), entries came in from 11 other states as well. And there was one international registrant, Hector Leiva from New South Wales, Australia.
No fewer than 64 Maxeys residents volunteered for the event in a variety of capacities, including sponsor solicitation, registration, race day parking, water stations, refreshments and award distribution. Members of Boy Scout Troup 97 assisted with registration and finish line duties.
Total proceeds from this year’s event have yet to be fully tabulated, but the first three Model Mile 5Ks raised approximately $20,000 for the Firefly Trail Amenities Fund. The intention is that these funds will go toward amenities for the Maxeys Model Mile within the Maxeys city limits. Three picnic tables were recently acquired and installed, thanks to the Model Mile 5K.
The event’s origin in 2019 also gave rise to the Firefly Trail Race Series, now in its third and most successful year. The Race Series is composed of four running/walking events in Firefly Trail towns, the other three consisting of the Winterville Civitan Snowflake 10K (held January 29), the Crawford Restoration Run 5K on Labor Day, and the Union Point J3 5K on September 24.
Athens-Clarke County voters have approved TSPLOST 2023 with almost 68% of those casting ballots voting YES. Passage ensures that the county will have enough funding to complete the Firefly Trail between Athens and Winterville with a durable concrete surface that will last for decades. Your support and enthusiasm were vital for this great outcome. Thank you for your support for completing the Firefly Trail in Athens-Clarke County. Together, we are building our trail and setting an example of how to connect our communities!
Overall, TSPLOST 2023 will provide an estimated $150 million over five years for 34 projects in Athens-Clarke County, Winterville and Bogart. The Firefly Trail Project, #18 on the list [https://www.accgov.com/10103/TSPLOST-2023-Projects], will provide up to $7.495 million to finish paving trail sections – namely, the 3.4 mile-gap between Hancock Road and Athens Road in Winterville. If funds permit, ACC can also use TSPLOST 2023 to install trailheads, restroom facilities, signage, and/or other trail amenities as needed. TSPLOST funds can also be used as matching funds to leverage grant opportunities.
Thanks again for your support of the Firefly Trail and the safe walking, running, biking, skating and active transportation opportunities it is bringing to Athens-Clarke County!
Despite the wind, the 11th Annual Ticket to Ride was a huge success. Thank you to all of the riders, sponsors, and volunteers who helped make it happen and to Carol Myers and our Firefly Trail Inc. board members for sharing some great photos. See ya next year!
The 11th Annual Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride, presented by Athens Physical Therapy, returns Saturday, March 26, at 9 a.m. The non-competitive event will bring an estimated 300 cyclists to roads and towns from Athens to Union Point – or Union Point to Athens – to celebrate progress on the Firefly Trail and build momentum to connect the existing segments.
We need volunteers! Signup here!
- Online at Active.com
- Registration form - PDF
- Registration form - Microsoft Word
- In-person pre-registration at Georgia Cycle Sport, 1029 Baxter St. beginning Feb. 1 with packet pick-up and registration on Friday, March 25th from 3 - 6 a.m.
- Day of ride registration begins at 8 a.m. and riders may start as soon as registered.
Ride Cue Sheets:
- Union Point
- Route URLs and Overview
The ride will be held on paved roads and segments of trail on or close to the historic corridor of the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch. The route highlights completed stretches of the trail in Union Point, Maxeys, Winterville and Athens. Funds generated by Ticket to Ride are used by Firefly Trail Inc. to support its work to assist communities in building, promoting, and maintaining the trail.
When completed, the trail will provide a safe, off-road, 39-mile path for walking, running, cycling and other non-motorized uses through three counties and seven towns and cities. As rail-trails have done all over the U.S., it will improve health, create economic opportunities, promote equity and build a greater sense of community.
The Ticket to Ride is unique among area cycling events because it features out-and-back options up to 87 miles. Riders can tailor their ride to fit their riding style by simply turning around. Start/finish locations will be at Jittery Joe’s Roaster in Athens, the historic Depot in Winterville, and Union Point Theatre in Union Point. Riders are treated to beautiful countryside, friendly towns, and on-road vehicle support, with restrooms, snacks and beverages every 8-13 miles.
In addition, planning is in progress to welcome riders back to Athens and Union Point. At Jittery Joe’s Roaster, Rashe’s Cuisine food truck will provide Jamaican-inspired fare for purchase, and a variety of canned Creature Comforts beer will be available for purchase by those 21 and older with ID (one free can for registered riders). Union Point plans will be announced soon.
“It’s a lot of fun to support a great cause: building a major rail-trail to connect our communities with a safe, off-road path,” said Firefly Trail President Mark Ralston. “Because it flattens out most of the hills, the Firefly Trail can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.”
In addition, the Firefly Trail will connect to other trails for even greater opportunities, including the growing Greenway Network in Athens, Corry House/Hart Farms mountain bike trails in Union Point, and the proposed Georgia Hi-Lo Trail from Union Point to Savannah. It will also serve as an important connector in Oglethorpe and Greene counties for “gravel grinding,” an increasingly popular form of cycling that uses little-traveled unpaved roads.
Volunteers are vital to the event, and numerous opportunities are available. All volunteers receive a knit beanie. Click here for volunteer information and signup.
Pre-registration is now open on Active.com. Adults are $40 each, students are $30, and teams of 5-12 riders can pre-register as a group for $35 each. Ride-day registration will be $45 for adults and $30 for students. Riders will receive a knit beanie while supplies last. All proceeds from the event benefit Firefly Trail Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping local communities build the Firefly Trail.
Because COVID-19 remains active in our region, this year’s ride will use “trickle-out” starts, hand sanitizer will be available at SAG stops, and drivers and riders will be asked to wear masks and keep a window or two rolled down anytime a participant is using a SAG vehicle. Other precautions may be implemented if conditions warrant.
Ride details follow and are also available at www.fireflytrail.com.
The pace of progress on the trail continues to be strong. Several segments are now open and will be used in the Ticket to Ride where possible:
Full Press Release - Microsoft Word
Today we want to honor three in-kind sponsors who are making our 2022 Ticket to Ride better and more fun for our riders: Georgia Cycle Sport, the Hub, and Sunshine Bikes! GCS is hosting our pre-registration and packet pick-up event at their Baxter Street store on Friday and also providing mechanical support at Jittery Joe’s Roaster. Look for The Hub in Winterville for mechanical support before the ride begins and for part of the morning. And a big welcome and hearty thanks to staff of Sunshine Cycles, who will be providing pre-ride mechanical support at our Union Point registration site. If your bike needs a little attention. stop by and say hello. Even if your bike does NOT need some TLC, stop by and say hello!
ALSO - remember that online registration closes Thursday March 24th at 11:59 p.m. Sign up now!
Local governments will determine the final route.
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