(Media release from the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association):
The Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association (GPTA) will designate Cave Spring as Georgia’s first Pinhoti Trail Town at its annual meeting Saturday, May 22, from 9 a.m. until noon at Hearn Inn, 13 Cedartown Street SW, Cave Spring, GA. The GPTA Board of Directors will meet from 9 a.m. until 1o:30 a.m., and then the meeting will be open to the public until noon.
“We welcome attendance from the public and encourage feedback about how to improve the Pinhoti Trail and create better connections between the trail, its users, and its communities,” says outgoing GPTA President Rick Moon.
At noon, GPTA and other officials will hold a brief ceremony recognizing Cave Spring as Georgia’s first Pinhoti Trail Town. “Cave Spring has for many years in many ways supported the Pinhoti and welcomed its users as they pass through and often spend time and money in the community,” Moon says. “It’s altogether fitting that Cave Spring is Georgia’s first Pinhoti Trail Town.”
“Participation in the Pinhoti Trail Town program can be a catalyst for economic development, engage citizens as trail stewards, aid local and regional planners, and, most importantly, help local community members see the trail as a resource and an asset,” explains Moon.
Designation as a Pinhoti Trail Town begins with a community’s application, including a summary of what the community is doing to support the Pinhoti and its users as well as a self-inventory of its resources, amenities, and objectives. “We wanted to be Georgia’s first Pinhoti Trail Town,” says Sandra Lindsey, former director of the Cave Spring Downtown Development Authority and longtime Pinhoti supporter.
“Designation as a Pinhoti Trail Town is a recognizable and valuable asset and will contribute to a community’s long-term economic health, says Lindsey. “Cities and towns along the Pinhoti Trail’s corridor are sought out, visited, and relied on for various types of support by Pinhoti users.”
The small Floyd County community, population 1,200, through which the Pinhoti passes after leaving Alabama and entering Georgia about 11 miles west of town, is 17 miles southwest of Rome. The popular tourist attraction is named for its natural limestone cave and mineral spring which serves as the main source of drinking water for nearby communities.
“With continued and rising interest in the Pinhoti Trail, and more visitors coming to the trail every year, more and more outfitters, shuttle services, restaurants, and other businesses catering to outdoor recreation call Pinhoti communities home,” Moon says. “Cave Spring has already encouraged and experienced this.”
The Alabama Pinhoti Trail Association will also hold its annual meeting on May 22,in Cave Spring at Hearn Inn from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both the Georgia and Alabama meetings are open to directors from each state association.
Alabama currently has three designated Pinhoti Trail Towns — Heflin, Piedmont, and Sylacauga. Georgia’s Pinhoti Trail Town program is modeled on Alabama’s.
Cities and towns along or near the Pinhoti corridor in Polk, Floyd, Chattooga, Walker, Whitfield, Murray, Gilmer, and Fannin counties are eligible to become Georgia Pinhoti Trail Towns.
The Pinhoti Trail is one of the premier, long-distance, point-to-point trails in the United States. Running through much of Alabama and Georgia, it provides over 335 miles of recreational opportunities in the beautiful and sometimes remote southern Appalachians.
The 171-mile Pinhoti Trail in Alabama and the 167-mile Pinhoti Trail in Georgia, collectively, are known as the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail. The Pinhoti Trail is also part of the Eastern Continental Trail and the Great Eastern Trail.
In Alabama, the Pinhoti is open to thru-hikers, day hikers, and trail runners. In Georgia, it is also open to equestrians and mountain bikers.
The Pinhoti’s southern terminus is on Flagg Mountain near Weogufka, AL, and its northern terminus is where it joins the Benton MacKaye Trail about 70 miles west of Georgia’s Springer Mountain, southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The Pinhoti connects to the Appalachian Trail via the Benton MacKaye Trail.