We have just been informed by Athens-Clarke County that events in all ACC parks have been cancelled, including our Ticket to Ride 2020 and FunFest. ACC is not allowing large events to be held in any of its parks for the remainder of March. This is part of the nationwide effort to limit the spread of the disease and protect vulnerable people. Our goal is to reschedule the ride for a later date. Unfortunately, during these rapidly changing Covid-19 times, it is not possible to select a future date right now. We will keep you informed and announce a new date as soon as possible.
Special thanks to everyone who volunteered to assist with the ride. Many of you signed up to assist at the SAG stops in Winterville, Crawford and Maxeys preparing and serving food and drinks to the cyclists; be a SAG driver to help cyclists along the route; help register cyclists the day of the ride; help all day and in many ways at the events which were scheduled in Athens and Union Point; help sell and purchase ducks; and two of you folded hundreds of shirts.
Special thanks to all who have registered to ride. We will be in touch with you all and thank you for your support and enthusiasm.
Special thanks to our sponsors whose support is critical to the success of our events and the future of the trail. You will continue to be thanked in the days and weeks to come.
The success of this trail will be because of all of you who choose to give your time, talents and funds to make it a reality.
Thank you for your patience while we figure out next steps.
Stay safe and healthy,
Firefly Trail, Inc., Board of Directors
Classic City Duck Race Update from David Hadden and the organizing committee:
Because Athens Clarke County has decided to cancel all events held in the parks for the rest of the month, we will not be able to physically hold the Inaugural Classic City Duck Race as planned. However, we have an option to use the third-party vendor website hosting duck sales to pick a random winner for the event and we will be moving forward with this option. A winner for the race will be chosen at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2020. The winner will then be notified at the email they provided when purchasing the ducks. Duck sales will continue until 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2020.
On behalf of the Classic City Duck Race team at Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty and our community partners, we appreciate you supporting the Firefly Trail and Oconee Greenway System. We will be back next year for the 2nd Annual Classic City Duck Race and will keep you updated on our progress.
Thanks again for supporting the Firefly and Greenway!!!
The 9th Annual Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride, 3rd annual Union Point Firefly Trail Festival and 2nd
Annual Firefly FunFest in Athens will be held Saturday, March 28, to raise funds and awareness
for the effort to enhance health, safety, active transportation, community pride and economic
opportunity by creating a 39-mile, multi-purpose rail-trail from Athens to Union Point.
The Ticket to Ride is a mass participation bicycle event held on paved roads close to the future
route of the trail, which will be built on or near the historic corridor of the Georgia Railroad
Athens Branch. An event for fun and awareness, the non-competitive ride features options up
to 83 miles, beautiful countryside, friendly towns, on-road vehicle support, and restrooms,
snacks and beverages every 9-10 miles.
Each terminus of the future trail – Dudley Park in Athens and downtown Union Point – will host
festivals in conjunction with the ride.
Whether you want to ride 16 miles or 83, you are welcome on the Ticket to Ride!
Pre-registration is now open on Active.com (https://www.active.com/orgs/firefly-trail-inc)
Click here to download the registration form.
$40 adults through March 27
No charge for children riding with you on your bike in an appropriate child seat
$35 each for teams of 5-12
Everyone who registers before March 15 is guaranteed a t-shirt
Download the flyer.
Pre-registration and packet pickup event
Register the day before the ride at the pre-registration price! Friday, March 27, 3-6 PM
at Georgia Cycle Sport, 1029 Baxter St., Athens. T-shirts available while supplies last. If
you have already registered, stop by to pick up your rider packet, wristband, t-shirt and
cue sheets and visit with friends.
Opens at 8 AM at all three registration points
$45 all adults
Cash, checks and credit cards accepted in Athens and Winterville
Cash and checks only in Union Point due to poor connectivity
T-shirts available while supplies last
Uses the lowest-traffic paved roads we could find as close as possible to the historic corridor of
the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch.
Out-and-back course gives you complete control over how far and fast you go. Ride all 83 miles
at 20 mph if you wish, or ride 15 miles at 8 mph if that’s more your style, or anything in-
between. Your choice!
The route will be marked with yellow blazes on the pavement before and at turns with
confirming blazes after turns and in other places as needed. Cue sheets will be available.
Ride with GPS routes are posted, below.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available and sponsors are appreciated and recognized. For
information, contact Mary Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ride will take place rain or shine except in the event of dangerous conditions. No refunds
will be available. However, if you register and then decide not to ride for any reason, you can
pick up your rider bag at Georgia Cycle Sport March 30-April 5.
Here are the mapped options, or create your own route by going as far as you want and then
turning around. If you want a one-way ride, you are welcome to arrange for a family member or
friend to pick you up at your destination.
Athens-Winterville – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31665000 15.4 miles. 707 feet climbing
Athens-Crawford – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31665071 38.2 miles. 1,523 feet climbing
Athens-Maxeys – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31665150 57.6 miles. 2,146 feet climbing
Athens-Union Point – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31719859 83.1 miles. 2,790 feet climbing
Winterville-Crawford – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31742295 22.8 miles. 847 feet climbing
Union Point-Athens – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31755109 83.1 miles. 2,790 feet climbing
Want to explore the Firefly Trail and Greenway trails in Athens after your ride? Here’s a Ride With GPS route from Dudley Park:
NOR Greenway + Firefly Trail – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31737668 11.5 miles. 483 feet
Start times you need to know
Day-of Registration opens at 8 a.m. at all three starting points
Staggered start in Athens
o 50 miles or more (Maxeys & Union Point): 9 AM
o 49 miles or less (Winterville & Crawford): 9:30 AM
Police escort to Spring Valley Road for riders departing at 9 AM
All riders start at 9 AM in Union Point and Winterville
We and our trail communities proudly provide SAG stops every 9-13 miles with
restrooms, water, snacks and sports drinks.
SAG stops open before first riders arrive and remain open until last riders pass through.
The following times are approximate:
o Athens: 9 AM – 4:30 PM
o Winterville: 9 AM – 4 PM
o Crawford: 10 AM – 3 PM
o Maxeys: 10 AM – 3:30 PM
o Union Point: 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Georgia Cycle Sport will host the Winterville SAG stop and will have mechanics available
to provide adjustments and minor repairs
SAG drivers will drive the course to provide assistance to riders who have mechanical
problems or are too tired to continue.
Please note that SAG vehicles are reserved for riders who need assistance. They are not
available for shuttle service.
SAG vehicles will be marked.
Cue sheets will include a number to call if you need help. In case of an actual
emergency, call 911. Please note that cell service is spotty (at best) between Crawford
and Union Point.
Course closes at 4:30 PM. If you are still on the course, we will do our best to offer you a
ride back to your starting point. If you wish to continue riding, you may do so as an
Volunteers are vital to the event, and numerous opportunities are available. All volunteers
receive a free t-shirt. For information or to sign up, go to https://signup.com/go/FcNyLCJ.
We love our volunteers!
Thinking of sponsoring the Ticket to Ride event or know someone who might be interested? Download our sponsorship form here.
Beer! Food! Music – and more. Join us after your ride and invite your family and friends, too.
The festivals are open to everyone!
Athens: 2nd annual Coldwell Banker/Upchurch Realty Firefly FunFest in Dudley Park
FunZone 10 AM – 3 PM. Some activities continue until 4:30 PM
Inaugural Classic City Duck Race on the North Oconee River. You can sponsor as many
rubber ducks as you like for $5 per duck at https://rafflecreator.com/pages/34736/ticket-to-ride-the-inaugural-classic-city-duck-race
Grand prize of $1,000 to the sponsor of the first duck to cross the finish line. You
do not have to be present to win. Proceeds benefit the Firefly Trail and the North
Oconee River Greenway System. Time to be determined.
FunZone will feature giant inflatables for adults and kids, a health fair, live music, a live
remote by Bulldog 93.3, and more. Free admission. Activity tickets $1 each.
Food trucks including Rashe's Cuisine, Que Shack Barbeque, Crazy Corn Truck, plus kettle corn and funnel cakes.
Beer garden, serving Southern Brewing Company beer poured by local charities. Registered riders age 21 and over get one free pour with their wristband and valid ID; additional beer available for sale.
The festival wraps up at 4:30 PM
Union Point: the 3rd annual Union Point Firefly Festival in downtown Union Point
Beer garden, serving Oconee Brewing Company beer poured by 44 Growlers. Registered
riders age 21 and over get one free pour with their wristband and valid ID; additional
beer available for sale.
Raffles for an adult bike and a kid's bike, both donated by Georgia Cycle Sport. Proceeds
remain in Greene County to spur creation of the Greene County portion of the trail.
Live music and storytelling.
More you need to know
All riders must wear a CPSC-compliant helmet.
Be aware that you will be sharing the road with cars and trucks.
You know this, but we have to say it: Bicycling is an inherently dangerous sport. All ride
participants must sign a waiver. You are responsible for your safety and the safety of
any minors in your custody. Participants under the age of 18 must be supervised at all
It is your responsibility to obey all Georgia laws pertaining to bicycling.
Signal when turning, slowing or stopping.
If riding in a group, observe good group etiquette: Be predictable, point or call out
hazards such as gravel or potholes, maintain safe drafting distance, and call out turns.
We recommend you do NOT call “clear” at intersections.
If you stop to make a call, remove a layer, etc., please get completely off the road.
It is extremely important that we make a good impression on the people in the
communities our ride visits. Please be friendly and polite. Please make it as easy as
possible for drivers to pass you.
Edge-line rumble strips have been installed on Hwy. 77. We’re not happy about it, but
can’t change it. The highway has low traffic volumes for a state highway, but traffic
moves fast. There is little, if any, shoulder, so you will need to ride to the left of the
white line. We recommend riding single-file in small groups and using rear flashers and a
mirror to check traffic approaching from the rear. If you are not comfortable riding in
these conditions, we recommend starting from Athens or Winterville and turning back
in Crawford. It’s another reason we need the trail!
Athens: Use the large Dudley Park/Greenway/Chicopee lot off East Broad Street. If this
lot fills up, we recommend parking at Trail Creek Park off Peter Street, about 1 mile
away. Limited on-street parking also may be available in nearby neighborhoods, or you
can use the Classic Center deck (for a fee). How to get to Dudley Park:
o From the Loop: Exit at Peter Street/Olympic Drive and head west (toward town)
on Peter Street. Turn right on Arch Street, then right on East Broad. The parking
lot will be on your left immediately after crossing the Trail Creek bridge.
o From downtown: Take Broad Street east (down the hill). Cross the North Oconee
River bridge. Turn right to stay on East Broad. Parking will be on your right.
Winterville: Park in the area behind the Depot or in the grass beside Marigold Lane.
Overflow parking may also be available in the Pittard Park gravel overflow lot (not the
paved Pittard Park spaces!) or at the Community Center about 0.5 miles away on North
Union Point: Plenty of on-street parking available in the downtown area.
Note: Parking is at your own risk. Please make sure to lock your vehicle and ensure that
nothing of value is visible inside it. Ride organizers are not responsible for damage or lost or
Progress on the trail has picked up steam in recent months. In addition to the existing 0.8-mile
of trail in Athens, construction is nearly complete on 0.7 miles in Maxeys, and underway on
more than a mile in Winterville. Union Point is in the final stages of planning a 0.6-mile
segment, and Athens-Clarke County is working on a two-phase project that will connect the
existing trail with the trail in Winterville. ACC also has decided on a design for the Firefly Trail
Bridge over Trail Creek. The trail in ACC and Winterville is funded primarily by a Transportation
Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and earlier SPLOSTs. Outside of ACC, trail development
is being funded primarily through grants and local matching funds, including fundraisers such as
the Ticket to Ride and the Union Point Firefly festival.
In addition, FTI is working closely with other trail advocates and State Reps. Spencer Frye and
Trey Rhodes to create a Trails Caucus in the Georgia Legislature. We are also working intensely
with elected officials in Greene and Oglethorpe counties to explore larger grant opportunities.
Many of these big grants require significant local matching funds, which FTI is committed to
helping provide. Your help is vital in making the full Firefly Trail a reality. Thank you!
There are a variety of volunteer opportunities coming up (see below). Some have just a one hour minimum commitment. Any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated.
February 29th - Greenlife Expo & Awards at the State Botanical Garden 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We need volunteers to help staff the Firefly table and spread the word about the Firefly Trail. The minimum time commitment is only 1 hour and an experienced Firefly Trail board member will be there to assist. View details and signup at the link below:
February 29th - Maxeys' Workday 9 a.m. to Noon. No signup needed. Check in at Maxey's City Hall (369 S. Main St, Maxeys,GA). The goal will be clearing out a planned picnic area and cutting back the trees between Laurel and Cherry streets. Chainsaws, saws, clippers, rakes, gloves and clean-up tools are requested.
March 28th - Ticket to Ride 2020. There are variety of volunteer opportunities in Athens, Winterville, Crawford, Maxeys, and Union Point, from helping at registration to staffing our rest stops. View details and signup at the link below:
March 28th will be the Inaugural Classic City Duck Race in the Oconee River at Dudley Park. The owner of the fastest duck wins $1,000 and ducks are only $5 each! Inflatables, food, beer and fun 10AM - 3PM. CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR DUCKS TODAY AND SUPPORT THE FIREFLY TRAIL!
Our plan to ensure that no duck is left behind:
- The blue lines represent our main containment zone and are designed to funnel the ducks to shore where the finish line will be. By directing the flow of ducks to shore rather than finishing in the middle of the river it will facilitate removing ducks from the water quickly and efficiently.
- The red lines represent paddlers who will travel behind the main heard of ducks to begin the river clean up and remove stragglers and the one close to the orange net is for any ducks who slip past the main containment area
- The orange line is a net running across the river and is our last line of defense.
- Yellow circles are the ducks and will be piled up on shore for a final count to ensure that every duck that went in the river comes back out.
Download the Duck Race/Funzone flyer here.
Runners and walkers looking to save money and increase the good they do for area communities still have time to sign up for the Firefly Trail Race Series, but not much. Registration closes with the start of the Winterville Snowflake 10K on Jan. 25.
The series is professionally managed by Classic Race Services and presented by Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty. It will provide competitive and recreational running and walking opportunities in towns formerly linked by the Athens Branch of the Georgia Railroad. This 39-mile transportation corridor is being converted into a non-motorized rail-trail between Athens and Union Point. A safe, off-road path for walking, running, biking, skating and other non-motorized uses, the Firefly Trail will connect three counties and eight communities, offer health benefits, boost economies and bring people together.
The Firefly Trail Race Series features these events in 2020:
- Winterville Snowflake 10K, Jan. 25, 9 a.m., a Peachtree qualifier, starting at 101 South Marigold
- Maxeys Model Mile 5K, May 2, 7:30 a.m., starting on Laurel Lane off Ga. 77
- Crawford Restoration Run 5K, Sept. 7, 7:30 a.m., starting at the Crawford Depot on U.S. 78
- Union Point Junction Jamboree Jog 5K, Sept. 26, 8:30 a.m., starting at 206 Veazey St.
Series registration costs $64 per runner/walker, a price that works out to just $16 per race. Registration includes all awards, services and incentives offered by each race, including t-shirts. In addition, Classic Race Services will present awards specifically for Firefly Trail Race Series participants after the Union Point Junction Jamboree, and participants also earn points for the Black Bag Race Series.
Click here to download the registration form.
Paper forms are also available at all upcoming Classic Race Services events or by contacting Anne Garner (email@example.com), John Kissane (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carole Black (email@example.com).
Mail-in registrations must be received by Jan. 20 in order to have time for processing before the Snowflake 10K. However, you can sign up for the series at day-of registration for the Snowflake 10K on Jan. 25. Registration for the Snowflake 10K will open at 8 a.m.
"This inaugural race series will highlight the strong connections between Firefly Trail and the cities along its 39-mile corridor," said John Kissane, Trail Development Coordinator and an avid runner. "In addition, the series will highlight the potential Firefly Trail holds for attracting a variety of fun recreational activities to the area."
"The four races that compose the 2020 series are established events," noted Anne Garner, Firefly Trail Inc., Board member and lead organizer of the Maxeys Model Mile 5K. "But each subsequent year, as Firefly Trail progresses toward completion, we envision the race series expanding and improving. And each race in the series welcomes competitive runners as well as fitness joggers and recreational walkers of all ages."
The ACC Leisure Services Department will host public information open houses on Tuesday October 22 and Thursday October 24 regarding proposed plans for the extension of the Firefly Trail from Hancock Road to Moores Grove Road. This connection travels along Spring Valley Road and will tie into the Firefly Trail section under construction in Winterville.
Leisure Services Department staff will provide information regarding plans for the Firefly Trail at this drop-in informational open house. The proposed route will be available for viewing. Staff will discuss the project progress to date and future steps in the process.
The open house will take place 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Athens Clarke County Streets & Drainage Division Training Room, located at 605 Spring Valley Road.
Please visit the Leisure Services Department’s Park Planning website at www.accgov.com/parkplanning for the latest information regarding this project or call 706-613-3801.
Online comments received from October 22nd until November 17th: www.accgov.com/leisureserviceslistens
Public Information Meetings: Firefly Trail Phase III Facebook Event
Lee Morgan, president of the Oconee County Cycling Organization, presented Firefly Trail Inc. with a check for $1000 to support the Firefly Trail and raise awareness of bicycling and bicycle safety throughout our region. The funds came from the 2019 Tour d'Oconee, a mass participation bicycling event held May 11 in Oconee County. Thank you Lee and Oconee County Cycling Organization!
Local governments will determine the final route.
firefly in the news
4/2020 Firefly Trail Buzzes with Activity this Spring (Page 9 of the Winterville Gazzette)
8/7/2019 The Firefly Trail Takes Wing
5/16/2019 How the Firefly Trail aims to connect communities throughout rural Georgia
2/2019 Firefly Trail is a dream come true!
4/19/17 Trail Progress Update
10/25/17 Trail Opening
3/20/19 Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride
6/30/18 Best Things with Kids in Athens
4/27/18 Firefly Discussed
11/7/17 Voters Green-Light TSPLOST
10/25/17 Trail Opening
4/14/17 GA Rep. Announces Grant
3/25/17 Ticket to Ride Recap
3/16/17 Firefly Overview and Update
2/4/17 Firefly Economic Development
Help us write the story
Got a Firefly story or image you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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