Opp pledges support for Rails to Trails

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2015


The Opp City Council on Tuesday agreed to do the maintenance of a 1.9-mile stretch of a proposed Rails to Trails project.

The local project goes along a 43.8-mile long CSX rail corridor from Andalusia to Geneva, and a group of enthusiasts have been working for years to get Forever Wild, a land trust that has purchased more than 227,000 acres of land for public use since 1992, to work with them to acquire the property, which it would then seek funding to develop.

CSX owns the abandoned rail property, but has removed the rails.

It is estimated the property will cost some $2 million.

Don Childre, who has led efforts for a proposed 400-acre Forever Wild project adjacent to Frank Jackson State Park in Opp, was on hand at the meeting to ask the council to take up the maintenance of the 1.9 miles on Hwy. 52 to the Coffee County line.

“That’s added to the original 7.9 miles that came to begin with,” he said. “This is the last stretch.”

Childre told the city there are multiple advantages such as having the utility line right of way and people hiking will bring traffic to the area.

“It will just be running the bush hog out there,” he said.

Childre told the council that the conservation department has money for maintenance in its budget.

The trails will be used for hiking, biking and horse back riding.

“No four-wheelers, golf carts or UTVs will be allowed,” Childre said.

The City of Andalusia has previously pledged its support of the project, and agreed to do necessary maintenance inside the corporate limits. The Covington County Commission has taken no action on the issue.