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County holds open house for north Forsyth trail system plan
Forsyth County Deputy Director of Planning and Community Development Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman (middle) points out potential trails at a subarea plan open house meeting on Monday. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Locals had a chance this week to check out a plan for a proposed trail system that could link Sawnee Mountain, Lake Lanier and north Forsyth communities and businesses.

On Monday, an open house meeting was held at the Forsyth County Administration Building on a subarea plan to gather input from local residents.

“We’re hosting an open house for our subarea plan that’s focused on transit, specifically going into more detail from our county bike and pedestrian plan, looking at how to connect county parks with county schools and neighbors and other organizations and how to leverage those trail connections across the subarea boundary,” said Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman, the county’s deputy director of planning and community development.

Local resident Patti Pittman, among those looking over plans, said she lived outside the subarea but was excited about the plan.

“The multi-use path was really exciting to me just because it gets people walking and biking. It gets them off the roadways,” she said. “I’m very excited about this. I’m hoping it extends to the rest of the county. I just hope that any time that the county gets near schools, that they’ll give access to the schools as well for these paths.”

Project Manager Patrick J. K. Waylor, with GreenbergFarrow, the firm selected to work on the plan, said the trail system would have main trails with smaller trails, or spurs, breaking off to neighborhoods, parks or other areas.

“It basically goes from Lake Lanier to Eagles Beak Park,” Waylor said. “It’s a system of five loop trails and some spurs off of there that will get you all the way up there.”

Waylor said the paths could possibly bring more tourism to the area.

“[The system would] promote wellness, get out in nature, connect communities, all the good things trails can do,” he said. “It could also promote tourism and be an economic [factor with] Lake Lanier right here, and a lot of people coming from all over the state to the lake.”

Bernstein-Goldman said the plan will next go to a steering committee formed for the plan before going to county commissioners. 

“It will be summarized for the committee, then the committee can discuss the input to better refine the plan before it goes to board of commissioners,” she said. “When the board considers it at the work session, at that point in time we’ll see what the board wants to do in terms of next steps.”