GIHP Completes New Trail Signage Installation
The Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) recently completed a new trail signage installment project, making recreational usage easier and safer to navigate for residents and visitors.
The trail system extends through 1,139 acres of the Park, and provides 24.33 miles of recreational opportunities, including pedestrian hiking, running, walking, biking and equestrian riding, while protecting cultural and natural resources.
The self-guided trails connect the equestrian core of the park, steeplechase field, Bald Rock Meadows and Big Haynes Creek Nature Center. The project has added over 186 trail markers, four trailhead signs and two additional maps throughout the trails. The GIHP staff installed the new, easily identifiable signs and added color-coded signs which feature an interactive QR code system that can be scanned with a smartphone, so that trail users can pinpoint their exact location in proximity to entrances and exits.
“The QR codes are an important communication feature that can significantly reduce chances of trail users getting lost, allow participants to meet up with each other more easily, and can assist emergency personnel, should any unforeseen incidents occur,” explains Lonnie Abercrombie, GIHP facility manager.
The trail management plan has six different sign colors to better direct visitors: yellow, pink, orange, blue, purple and red. Blue, pink, orange, purple and yellow trails are designated for walkers and equestrian riders, while the red trails are only for mountain bikes. Large maps of the trail system and individual pocket maps are available at trail entrances.
The orange trail, the shortest in length, is located at Bald Rock Meadows off of Costley Mill Road, and is the GIHP’s most pedestrian-friendly trail. It boasts some of the original structures remaining from the Olympics, including a covered bridge, two ponds and a mill. The easiest horse riding route is the pink trail, which is one of the original Olympic cross-country courses.
The red and blue trails are the most difficult, as they run through the entire park and steeplechase field, into heavily wooded areas, open pastureland and streams. The red trail is the longest trail, and is specific to cyclists only.The blue trail, named after Mike Medlock, a devoted volunteer who helped create and maintain some of the original equine trails, starts at the trailhead in the equestrian core, winds through Bald Rock Meadows to the edge of the Big Haynes Creek Nature Center, crosses Costley Mill Road and Centennial Olympic Parkway, and ends near the Yellow River.
The purple trail, named after Chris Bowen, former city councilman, begins at the Big Haynes Creek Nature Center, a unique trail where nature lovers can spot wildlife throughout the wetlands.
There is no charge to use any of the trails. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and biking to explore and learn about the cultural resources unique to the park, and can now do so with more navigational confidence.
Jennifer Bexley, director of GIHP, feels that the timing of the signage unveiling could not be better, noting, “We’ve always been committed to delivering a great guest experience to all visitors, and these new features will certainly improve that. In this new year, we encourage the community to take advantage of the GIHP’s resources, and return often throughout the seasons.”
For more information about the Georgia International Horse Park’s trail system, visit www.georgiahorsepark.com. Trails are open from daylight to dusk. On occasion, trails may be closed due to other events occurring at the park. Visit the calendar of events page on the website for dates the trails may be closed.