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IMBA-SORBA Immersed in Recreation Trails Collaborative Management Project

The USDA Forest Service began a collaborative process with the public to develop a strategy to better manage the trails in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The main goal of this effort is to provide a diverse, quality trail system that is maintainable and ecologically sustainable. IMBA-SORBA has joined hikers, anglers, four-wheelers, equestrians, and other forest users to make sure this project is a success and enhances the recreational experience of all the forest’s users. Three principles have been adopted to guide the process.

  1. Diverse Quality Trail Experience: A diverse, quality trail experience that meets the expectations of a range of users, is safe within those expectations, has a variety of terrain and routes, and is located in a natural setting. The trails include appropriate infrastructure that provides users access to a range of opportunities.  
  2. Economically Sustainable: A maintainable trail system is properly designed and has the long-term financial commitment from the public and Agency. Financial resources are available to provide needed funds for management while protecting the natural and cultural resources. 
  3. Ecologically Sustainable: An ecologically sustainable trail is designed and constructed so negative impacts to natural and cultural resources are minimized to acceptable limits.

After adopting the guiding principles, the Forest Service hosted a series of five facilitated meetings to gain insight into how users viewed the principles and to better learn the issues of concern to the diverse groups. Over 300 people attended these meetings, and the results gathered are being used by user workgroups to develop action plans for the future. The workgroups are divided into the following categories:ResourceCommunicationEducationVolunteerismThe groups will complete tasks such as identifying other user groups, funding sources, and outreach activities. On June 7th at 6:00 P.M., the entire team will meet at the Forest Supervisor's Office, 1755 Cleveland Highway Gainesville, GA 30501.IMBA-SORBA is honored to be a part of this collaborative process, and we look forward to enjoying the results.