Greetings from the Chicopee Woods

Seasoned hikers make a point of calling out, “Hi,” when passing these trees, seen from the Lake Loop, that are forged together via a ‘pressure graft.’ Not only is this natural phenomenon a sight to behold, the results of the Elachee Volunteer Trail Crew’s ongoing hiking trails work in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is another! These trees, seen from the Lake Loop hiking trail in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, are forged together via a pressure graft forming a greeting of sorts for hikers enjoying this protected natural wilderness in south Hall County, GA.

This volunteer corps, managed by Elachee Nature Science Center, had a productive December 2019 and January 2020. The following recaps the Elachee Trail Crew’s recent efforts along this 8-mile hiking system.

  • Repaired one Lake Loop bridge and structurally reinforced another.
  • Constructed and installed a map pedestal at the start of the Bridge Loop.
  • Added trail blaze markers to the directional signage at the intersection of the Bridge Loop/ Lake Loop to enhance hiker navigation.
  • Added water bars to the Bridge Loop/Lake Loop overlap to protect the trail from erosion.
  • Closed an unofficial side trail near the rock staircase on the Bridge Loop/Lake Loop overlap to protect the land from degradation.
  • Removed aged railing from the bridge on the Lake Loop (pictured at right).
  • Removed 12 blowdown trees from the trail system.

Elachee's volunteer trail crew uses the team's collective skills to maintain pedestrian bridges and walkways along the 8-mile hiking trail system in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, in south Hall County, Ga.The Trail Crew also routinely makes structural repairs to, as well as  removes dirt, leaves and debris from pedestrian bridges and steps along this 8-mile trail system. Ongoing maintenance is important to protect these structures from break down, caused by soil and natural debris.

Elachee’s Natural Resources Manager Lee Irminger, with help from the Trail Crew and third-party experts, keeps a vigilant eye on all trail system bridges. A recent inspection helped him prioritize routine maintenance in 2020 for each.

Next Significant Pedestrian Bridge Project in Chicopee Woods

Of note, the bridge over Vulture Rock Creek (Lake Loop), previously identified as needing structural improvements, is ready for construction. Volunteer engineers and bridge builders have developed a plan to improve its condition. Elachee is grateful to Builders First Source of Gainesville, Ga. This supplier of structural building products will be donating the materials, in combination with an anonymous donor who has donated power tools. The Elachee Trail Crew will perform the work.

How You Can Protect the Nature Preserve While Hiking

This Nature Preserve is one of the Georgia’s largest protected green spaces, is a part of the National Old Growth Forest Network and has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.

The Chicopee Woods hiking trail system has been purposefully built to a relatively narrow path in order to limit degradation of the surrounding environment. Lee encourages hikers to travel the trails single file and stay on the official trails. Read the Tips for Trail Use to guide your hiking adventure in Chicopee Woods. 

The hiking trails in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve are open to pedestrian traffic daily from 7 a.m. to sunset. Accept the 150-Mile Chicopee Challenge in 2020

IMPORTANT: Keep dogs leashed Saturday and Sunday. No dogs allowed Monday through Friday (including holidays) on the hiking trails, in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, the Chicopee Woods Area Park or on the campus of Elachee Nature Science Center.   

Vehicles parking in designated lots are subject to the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission parking fee. LEARN MORE and PLAN YOUR VISIT