In This Issue
Trail Updates
Word on the Trail
Connecting the Comet: Silver Comet Economic Impact Study
Board News
Featured Trails
Upcoming Community Events
Sunday, December 8 at 4 p.m. Covington Public Library
Thursday, January 23, 2014- time and location TBD
Quarterly Social

Saturday, March 8, 2014- time and location TBD
Quarterly Bike Ride

Welcome to New Board Member  

Please join us in welcoming Adam Meyer to the Newton Trails Board. Visit our website for a listing of all board members.

New Members 
Newton Trails welcomes its new members:

Tonya Bechtler
Nancy and Stephen Bowen
Gigi Cruikshank
Penelope England
Debra Griffith
Connie Hollis
Jan and Craig Hudson
Paul Jones
Josephine Kelly and Hugh Burnett
James and Cheryl Knight
Sarah Lanners
Joy and Lee Meadors
Matt and Ellen Moyle
Eve Mullen

Your membership allows Newton Trails to show elected officials, corporations and foundations that our community supports building multi-use trails.
Winner of the Newton Trails T-shirt Contest
When you become a member of Newton Trails your name will be entered into a drawing for a free Newton Trails t-shirt.

Congratulations to Penelope England, winner of the most recent drawing!
November/December 2013


Season's Greetings from all of us at Newton Trails! 


This time a year ago, the Eastside Trail many of you enjoyed all spring, summer, and fall was not yet opened for use. Now it's fast becoming a fixture in our community. On the first anniversary of the ribbon cutting for the Eastside Trail it is only fitting that we reflect on the year now ending. Some wonderful things have happened over the past months that have us heading into the new year with great hopes and eager anticipation.


One exciting project I want to fill you in on is the railroad corridor between Covington and Newborn. You may have read in the Covington News a few weeks ago that Norfolk Southern filed to abandon the line it no longer uses and plans to take up the ties, tracks, and bridges. It is clear to us that without the bridges the integrity of the corridor will be severely compromised and it will be an even greater challenge to use it as a future trail. That is why, after consultation with our legal counsel, we did what trail agencies like ours can do: In August, under the federal railbanking statute, we filed a Request for Public Use and a Notice of Interim Trail Use with the Surface Transportation Board.  This filing requested a 180-day delay in the abandonment proceedings to allow Newton Trails to negotiate with the railroad. While not legally obligated to consider our interest, Norfolk Southern notified the STB they did not object to the delay and would negotiate with Newton Trails.  This now gives us until mid-February to find a solution to save the corridor. 


The railroad is only one piece of our trail vision for Newton County. Along with it we are dedicated to several active trail projects; and new ones are on the horizon. For all of them we continue to rely on help from supporters like you. Thank you for your loyal support and dedication in 2013. An exciting new year is before us. With you on our side the future of trails in Newton County truly looks bright. 


Have a wonderful Holiday Season and Happy Trails to you in 2014,

Florian Pohl

Chairman of the Board




December days bring a magic to the town of Covington that transforms the woods behind the Newton County Public Library into the holiday fantasyland that is Twilights at Chimney Park.  And, that same magic remakes the monthly Covington Community Bike Ride into that pedal-powered adventure for children of all ages - the Jolly Jingle Bell Bike Ride.


Again this year, to align with Twilights, the regular bike ride will change date, time, and place for December.  Riders should be at the Newton County Public Library, ready to roll by 4 pm on Sunday, December 8.  Decorate your trusty two-wheeler and don your best holiday attire if you want a shot at one of the prizes for the best decorated/most festive.  As always, we'll take a leisurely roll through downtown Covington streets, accompanied by Christmas music, sounding the welcome for all to come join the fun at Chimney Park.  We'll be back by 5 pm when the gates open for Twilights.


Over 50 riders joined in last year, as we kicked off with an extra special event - the ribbon cutting to open the new Eastside Trail.  Let's double that number to celebrate the popular trail's one year anniversary!


Be there with bells on!  After all, this is a Jolly Jingle Bell Bike Ride!  But, we'll have jingles to borrow for those who forget.


Trail Updates
Many students and their parents participated in the
Bike to School day event on the Eastside Trail.

Positive Vibes on the Eastside Trail


If you haven't visited the Eastside Trail, there is no better time than right now. This is the 2.6 mile bike and walking trail that goes from the Newton County Public Library and Chimney Park to Eastside High School. It is a 10-foot-wide concrete path that begins off Ramsey Drive on the West side of the library. The first .6 miles meander through Chimney Park, the woodland area behind the library and the Newton County health Center. After winding gently through the woods over rolling terrain, the trail drops down to cross Martin Street. The trail features four wooden boardwalk sections that traverse forest wetlands and a tunnel beneath the Covington Bypass Road that allows pedestrians and cyclists to pass safely beneath the traffic overhead. On the east side of the bypass, the trail continues east and then runs between pasture land and woods south of the high school.  You will be amazed at the number of people you can greet along the trail. You will see joggers, walkers, bikers, moms strolling babies, and families walking their dogs. At this time of year native hardwoods are in full fall color. It is a great outing for all.


There are a lot of exciting things happening on the Eastside Trail. On May 8th, many students from Eastside High School and the Ficquett Theme School participated in the Bike to School day. 


Some recent happenings include installation of signage outlining trail usage rules, addition of trash/recycling containers provided by Newton Trails and upcoming installation of benches. The City of Covington has taken over maintenance of the trail and their employees are doing a wonderful job. Employees who are involved with the maintenance have become trail advocates and are taking great pride in their work on the trail. They have taken down hazardous trees and have kept the trail neat and clean. The City will soon be placing markers at tenth mile intervals to assist users in achieving exercise goals as well as providing safety locations in case of an emergency. 


A successful fundraiser was held by Friends of Newton Parks to raise funds to pave a walkway into Chimney Park for handicapped individuals who needed a hard surface for wheelchairs. The paving is completed and a fire pit is underway for gatherings during events.  Newton Trails is raising funds to connect the Chimney Park walk to the Eastside Trail. Hopefully, that will be accomplished in the near future. 


Word on the Trail  


Postcard Testimonials

Members of the Newton Trails Board have been enjoying talking to fellow trail lovers on the Eastside and Turner Lake trails. It's been encouraging to see so many different people enjoy the trails for a variety of reasons. Many of these people have written postcards to their local representatives showing their support for trails. We've collected over 200 postcards and captured some of these comments below.

Trails are an integral part of my life. I often go walking with my mother on the Eastside Trail. Everything about this is amazing and beautiful. Thank you so much for the trail in Newton County and please make more!


I truly enjoy walking and riding on these lovely trails. We need more!!! Healthy, happy citizens = GREAT communities!!!


We absolutely love coming out here to the trails in Newton County.


Our son is 4 months and enjoys the pretty colors and animals.

I love the trails! Great for working out and staying healthy.


Love the trails. Well built. Asset to a vital, healthy community.


I lost 30lbs walking on the trails! Thank you!


From the perspective of someone who lives outside of Newton County, but works here daily and attended college here, the trail system has always been a defining characteristic of the area and a treasure to enjoy; something not available where I live.

These trails are like medicine.


Georgia Trail News

Silver Comet Economic Impact Study 


The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission (NWGRC) and other stakeholders are exploring expansions of the Silver Comet Trail that would more than double the current 61.5 miles of trail in Georgia and add interstate connections with Alabama and Tennessee. Plans are based on a recent economic impact study showing the Comet generates about $ 120 million in total annual expenditures throughout the State. It's a must-read for anyone who still needs convincing that trails yield a high return on investment: a 400% return on investment for local communities, the region, and the state in the case of the Silver Comet! 

Board Members
Thank you to Departing Board Members

The Newton Trails Board would like to thank both Linda Woodworth and Maurice Carter for their outstanding service. Both Linda and Maurice have decided to dedicate their time and energy to different endeavors.


Linda Woodworth

Linda became a Newton Trails Board member after an extensive and impressive career with non-profits which included serving as the President of a parent pre-school co-op, as a Public Relations Assistant with Families First, and as the Executive Director of Corporate Volunteer Council of Metro Atlanta. After she retired in 2009, she started using her considerable energy and passion on a number of projects such as renovating a 125 year old farmhouse with her husband, running an organic farm and designing websites. She also enjoys spending time playing with her 3 grandchildren. 


Linda has used her skills and experience to help build support and excitement for family-friendly public trails by working on the Newton Trails website, starting the newsletters, coordinating several quarterly socials, helping to organize the Harvest Picking fundraisers and helping coordinate the first Bike to School day.  


Maurice Carter

Maurice  is a very active member of the Covington/Newton County community. He has volunteered with numerous local organizations such as the Newton County Trail Path Foundation, the Washington Street Community Center, Smart Growth Newton County, the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce and the Covington Conyers Cycling Club. In recognition of this, he was awarded the 2009 and 2010 President's Volunteer Service Award.


Maurice understands the importance of trails in providing safe places for people to bike/walk and enjoy other outdoor recreational activities, and in bringing renewed prosperity to Newton County.  As such, he has served as the chair for Newton Trails  for four years. 


Maurice has almost single-handedly reinvigorated the board as well as the organization. Under his leadership, Newton Trails has expanded Newton County's system of greenway trails. Some highlights include:

  • the construction of a trail segment in Oxford between Soule Street and Watson Street
  • a memorandum of understanding with the cities of Mansfield, Newborn, Oxford, and Porterdale, for the purposes of exploring options to acquire the Central of Georgia Railroad corridor from Porterdale to Newborn for possible trail use
  • helping secure a 2011 technical assistance grant from the US National Park service to assist master planning and coordination of the Yellow River Park in Porterdale, including the greenway and blueway trails planned for the park, with connections to Turner Lake Park in Covington   
  • assisting the City of Porterdale by raising funds to relocate and renovate a donated rail car to house rest rooms and changing facilities for the trail head at Yellow River Park
  • initiating NT's presence in social media such as FB (close to 1,000 "likes" at present)
Feature Trails
The Virginia Creeper Trail is one example of a very successful rails to trails project. When it was first proposed, the local opposition to it was fierce. French Moore, one of the early advocates of this trail stated in a 2009 interview: "When word got out that we were wanting to make a trail out of [the unused N&W Railway], all these people that lived out there were just furious with me and anybody who talked about it". He remembers that opponents put baled hay, downed trees and locked gates on the trail to prevent people from using it. 
However, now both local people and tourists love the Virginia Creeper Trail. It has helped revitalize some small towns that were facing extreme economic hardship. For example, Damascus is now a booming town that supports 8 bike shops on the trail and has been named one of the "Coolest Small Towns in America" thanks in part to its welcoming trail culture. Abingdon, another town on the trail, currently enjoys a vibrant tourist culture since many of the 250,000 people who use the trail stay in the town and support its businesses. 
The Virginia Creeper Trail has also helped foster a more bike-friendly culture. There is now a series of trails that connect sidewalks to the trail.