Sweet Trails Alabama plans statewide trail network

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, November 7, 2023

In a promising initiative that seeks to connect communities, promote economic development and boost outdoor recreation, Sweet Trails Alabama is expanding its vision statewide. Established earlier this year, organizers have been on a mission to create a web of trails that will span the entire state, offering residents and visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Alabama.  

Alabama state representative, Prince Chestnut has been a driving force behind the project. “Sweet Trails Alabama is a great way to connect the state and bring in tourists.” Chestnut said. “The objective is to identify local, regional and statewide trail projects. We have a historic trail from Marion to Selma through Montgomery; we also have Grist Park, old Cahawba and other attractions that can lure visitors to stay a while in our area as part of Sweet Trails Alabama.  As the sponsor of the legislation in the House of Representatives I saw how it would be useful not only to the state of Alabama but also to our district. Senator Andrew Jones put a lot of work into the bill and passed it in the senate; he believed that I was the right guy to push it through the house of representatives.”

In collaboration with Jacksonville State University, sponsors recently completed an eleven-stop tour to identify potential trail projects. Their journey took them to several Alabama cities including Huntsville, Florence, Tuscaloosa, Atmore, Mobile, Orange Beach, Dothan and Montgomery.

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The most recent stop on the trail-building journey led to Selma where organizers teamed up with the Singing River Trail Group. The trail is a 200+ mile trail network that strengthens regional bonds and offers new opportunities in health and wellness, economics, tourism and entrepreneurship in the Tennessee Valley region.

John Kvach, Executive Director for Singing River Trail, spoke on the importance of community support in this new endeavor. 

“With the support of our communities, we can create a trail network that connects every corner of Alabama. We are encouraging the people of Alabama to dream big” Kvach said. 

In line with this mission, Sweet Trails Alabama is seeking public input to shape the future of these trails. Alabama residents are invited to fill out an online survey detailing their preferences on the planning and development of the trail network. 

Moreover, Sweet Trails Alabama is actively collaborating with Alta Planning+Design to engage with communities and individuals throughout the state. Their objective is to gather data from all 67 Alabama counties to use while charting their statewide trail route. 

The survey can be accessed at http://www.sweettrailsalabama.org