Above, members of the Mountain Stewards trail crew at a bridge they constructed in the Burnt Mountain Preserve. The Stewards have recently completed three new hiking trails on the county-owned property.
The public is invited to attend the grand opening celebration for three new hiking trails at the Burnt Mountain Preserve, all recently completed by the Mountain Stewards.
Next Friday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m. the county will hold its grand opening celebration at the trailhead kiosk, located on the right side of Hwy 136 East headed toward the Dawson County line. The kiosk is located just before the first overlook.
The three new trails range from easy to strenuous. The Crest Trail is a 0.3-mile loop on the upper portion of the Preserve. The Preserve Trail is one mile long and rated moderate. It begins at the parking lot and loops through the upper portion of the western section of the Preserve. The Champion Creek Trail is 2 miles long and, because of an 800-foot elevation drop, the trail is rated strenuous.
Mountain Stewards President Don Wells said the Steward construction crew of “nine old men” began work on the trails in October/November of 2010 and worked through summer of this year, taking a few months off in the spring for other projects.
The Mountain Stewards completed all work free of charge. Estimating for labor, materials and in-kind work, the value of the trails is approximately $15,000.
The three new trails are located on 850-plus acres owned by Pickens County government, a tract permanently protected by a conservation easement through the Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia. Were county government ever to sell the land, it would remain permanently protected from development.
The Mountain Stewards are a 501(c)3 non-profit formed in 2003 to preserve, maintain and develop open spaces in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Learn more about the Stewards by visiting www.mountainstewards.org.