Old Railway May Become A 33 Mile Hiking Trail
An old railway running through Bibb, Jones and Baldwin County may soon have a new use as a hiking trail.
The Central Georgia Rails to Trails Association wants to take the abandoned CSX railway and create a 33 mile trail for walkers, bikers and nature lovers. The old rail line was abandoned in 1984, but CSX still owns 90 percent of the land between Macon and Milledgeville. The non-profit group sent a letter to the CSX Corporation who has shown interest in selling the right of way, but it won't be cheap. A 2007 study totaled the land and construction for a 10 foot wide trail to be roughly $17.5 million. President of Central Georgia Rails to Trails, Doug Oetter noted the steep price doesn't outweigh the potential benefits.
"We have a crisis in the United States and its called inactivity and we've seen it in our healthcare costs skyrocket so we're looking for ways to help people enjoy the outdoors at a sort of leisurely pace," Oetter said.
Not only may it spur activeness, but it might bring tourism to the area.
"The Silver Comet trail outside Atlanta is one of the biggest ones in Georgia and literally millions of people are using these trails," he said.
Oetter and his group are approaching county and city governments where the line runs through to get the idea on track. The group plans to target a few federal funding sources as well as state programs to get money but it may take years. He met with a Macon City Council committee last week on the matter. Oetter said he just wanted an endorsement but hopes funding will be available when the government consolidates in January.