Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association Treasurer Larry Madden sat down with city leaders in Cave Spring on Monday to discuss plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the path in Cave Spring.
Madden and city officials are looking at one of the first two weekends in October, pending potential conflicts with other events in Rolater Park.
“I can’t envision having this celebration anywhere but Cave Spring,” Madden said.
Cave Spring Downtown Development Authority Director Sandra Lindsey said the city is centrally located on the trail, which extends from Alabama into North Georgia.
The celebration would be a two-day event, on a Saturday and Sunday. Madden said he would hope the event could draw upwards of 10,000 hikers, bikers and horseback riders to Cave Spring.
The idea prompted Mayor Rob Ware to point out that the city has limited capacity for overnight guests. Many of the participants would probably like to camp out, either in Rolater Park, Madden said, or perhaps along the Pinhoti itself in the flats near the Dead Goat Gate trail head just across into Polk County.
Organized walks, bike rides or horse rides would be included in the program. Madden said he would not encourage visitors to go off by themselves — favoring organized rides that could keep participants from getting tangled up with each other out on the trails.
They also broached the subject of Cave Spring possibly applying to be designated as Georgia’s first Trails Town.
“I don’t know if anybody has pursued a Trails Town designation,” said Tracie Sanchez, manager for tourism product development in the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
She said there are programs like that in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.
Much of the early discussion Monday involved the effort to highlight the trails that criss-cross Cave Spring — from the Georgia Pinhoti Trail, the Great Eastern Trail, the Trail of Tears, and Cedar Creek, which is part of the blueways trail system. “Blueways” denotes water trails.
Madden said he is also interested in the development of a West Georgia Historic Trace trail from Chattanooga to Columbus.
A well-organized, well-promoted event would be critical, Sanchez said. Sanchez and her husband are avid bike riders.
“We want to know we’re going to a place that’s going to entertain us for the day,” she said.
The full Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association board of directors will meet in Chattooga County in March to lock down the dates and plans for the event.