May 2018 Update
The Flint River Trails Masterplan was developed in 2016 to take a comprehensive look at the potential of developing a countywide (and even multi-county) trail system. Not just a stand-alone trail, but a network of interconnected trails for a variety of users including runners, walkers, cyclists, equestrians, mountain bikes and non-motorized boaters. The Flint River Trails system centers on downtown Albany and the Flint River as the hub. Trails of various types then radiate out from downtown like spokes on a wheel.
The purpose of the Masterplan was to inventory existing trails, determine logical connections and locations for new trails. Extensive public input helped guide the result to make sure it would be something the community supported. Many meetings were held with individual stakeholder groups as well as the general public. In addition to groups like road cyclists, mountain bikers, kayakers and runners, meetings were held with senior citizens, health care workers, and students to make sure the trail network would have community buy-in. Broad-based community support is necessary for successful implementation of the Masterplan.
In 2016, there were only a few existing trails. The 2.5-mile concrete Riverfront Trail is the only multi-use trail currently built. There are about 11 miles of mountain bike trails at Chehaw Park, with another 9 miles south of downtown near the Civic Center which is also popular with trail runners. The Muckalee and Kinchafoonee Creeks, as well as the Flint River, provide excellent opportunities for canoes and kayaks, although there are currently no designated water trails along these rivers in southern Lee or Dougherty Counties.