New Aska Trail section in works for cyclists, hikers

  • Mountain biker AJ Petrillo takes in a panoramic view of Lake Blue Ridge from one of the Aska trails.
    Mountain biker AJ Petrillo takes in a panoramic view of Lake Blue Ridge from one of the Aska trails.
Body

The 9.5-mile Aska New Trail Project (Fruitkof portion) on Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County has gained approval to proceed from the U.S. Forest Service’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Blue Ridge Ranger District.

As part of the ongoing plan to upgrade and enhance the 17-mile Aska Trail System, the Fruitkof portion work will create new trail experiences for hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. The experiences will range from beginner and family-friendly to expert bike-optimized trail, with fabulous views and pedestrian access to Lake Blue Ridge.

The North Georgia Mountain Bike Association (a chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association) and International Mountain Bicycling Association Local Program have been working for years with USFS to bring this project to the construction phase. The total project costs are estimated to be $476,650, which includes the 9.5 miles of new trail, rest room facility and parking. The first phase will include building 3 miles of the beginner trail, parking area and a rest room facility. The cost for the initial phase is estimated to be $255,000.

Planners and organizers of the effort are poised to embark on the project as soon as funds are available to begin work. The trail will be built by a professional trail-building company that has expertise in creating a fun experience for beginner mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners.

“It is critical to build the trails correctly from the start to minimize environmental impacts and attract outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities for years to come,” said Terry Palmeri, a regional director for IMBA.

For more information, send an email to terry.palmeri@imba.com.