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Panola gets grant for new trailhead

CONYERS – Two projects are underway at Panola Mountain State Park for the construction of a new trailhead and an addition to its trails.

The park announced that it has received a $112,119 grant to go toward building a new trailhead located at Vaughtner’s Farm off Klondike Road. This will create new access to the Arabia Mountain/South River Trail network, a system of more than 20 miles of trails, with much of them in Rockdale County.

This new trailhead will provide restrooms, signage and an accessible parking lot that will allow for rainwater to be soaked up through the surface. After construction is completed, park visitors will have better access to the trail’s walking, jogging, biking and cycling opportunities that are offered.

According to a press release, the grant for the trailhead construction project will be provided by the Recreational Trails Program. Funds for the RTP are allocated by Congress in the national highway legislation, and overseen by the Federal Highway Administration. Under the guidance of the Federal Highway Administration, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources administers the grant program.

Along with a new trailhead, the park’s trails will be getting a new extension leading to Lorraine Elementary. The South River, General Ray Davis Middle and the Monastery of the Holy Spirit are just a few of the Rockdale outposts that are already on the trails map.

“The trails are designed to go through areas that are important to the community, both natural and cultural locations,” said Georgia Department of Natural Resources State Parks Director Becky Kelly.

The PATH Foundation, whose website states that it creates a network of off-road trails in and around Atlanta for anyone from walkers to cyclists, will be providing funds for the trail extension.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2014.