Blue Heron Nature Preserve
hits $750,000 trail goal
Three-mile trail in north Atlanta will soon be complete
July 9, 2019- After three years of fundraising, the community has risen to the challenge.
Blue Heron Nature Preserve announced this week that the nonprofit environmental center met its $750,000 goal to finish its new three-mile trail network known as the Blueway Trail. Once two major bridges are in place before the end of the year, all three parcels of the Nature Preserve will be easily accessible by a continuous trail.
“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our board, generous gifts from local foundations and individuals, we have completed the largest capital campaign our young organization has ever undertaken,” executive director Kevin McCauley said. “Plans for Phase 2 include linking Blue Heron’s trails to nearby Chastain Park and PATH 400.”
A celebration is planned to introduce the new connected trails to the public as soon as the project is fully built.
Blue Heron shares its facilities at 4055 Roswell Road with the Atlanta Audubon Society and The Amphibian Foundation, making the Preserve an environmental asset unlike any other in metro-Atlanta.
Two major improvements have been made in the month of April. The Eidson Mill Trail to the Eidson Mill Dam has been completed. Slate now tops this trail, making it more accessible, more sustainable, and more beautiful.
The trails have almost been completed along the Confluence Trail at the Land O Lakes Property. Boardwalk, water crossings, and slate trails have been added so visitors can now safely explore this lesser-known part of the Preserve.
In May, we are submitting permitting papers to start construction on the bridges that will connect all these trails together to make the 3 mile trail network.
Check out the before/after that shows our current Edison Mill Trail improvements! We have widen the trail and added a wooden retaining wall to the edge. It’s so much easier to enjoy the historic dam.
This trail leads to the bridge that will take you to the Emma Wetlands.
We’re 80% to our fundraising goal- help us cross the finish line today!
We are so grateful to our friends at the James M. Cox Foundation for their recent support of $75,000 to help complete the Blueway Trail.
Cox is committed to making a positive impact in the Atlanta area by supporting organizations working to create a healthier, more connected city through an expansive trail network.
The Cox grant pushes us over 80% of our fundraising goal of $750,000 to complete Phase One.
With this funding, we can build bridges and road crossings to create a three-mile trail network, connecting Blue Heron’s three properties to each other.
Work has begun on the Eidson Mill Trail! A retaining wall is being added to the downhill side of the trail to improve stability and accessibility.
The goal is to widen the trail to at least 4 feet at all points. The trail will eventually take you to a pedestrian bridge, crossing Mill Creek and bringing you to the Emma Wetlands property.
The design and permitting of that bridge, and another further upstream, is currently taking place behind the scenes.
Towards the end of the month, Atlanta got hit with an intense storm and some heavy flooding.
Luckily, with our puncheon boardwalk in place, we were able to minimize the negative effects from the flooding, as the boardwalks are meant to rise and fall and become inundated with water.
Our slate mix trails did not hold up as well, however, so we will be spending the next month mitigating the impact from the storm.
The last few Woodland Loop punchlist items are finalized!
We added metal edging along the Chastain Preserve town homes, a flagstone entrance off of Roswell by Post Chastain, and the installation of timber edging along the Painted Turtle Trail.
Hope to see you there!
Been out to Emma? You may have noticed the freshly cut trail! The in-progress trail will eventually take you to the old Mill Dam off Lakemoore Drive. Please be careful! This trail is not yet complete.
Additionally, the Preserve received approvals from the City of Atlanta to begin work on the Land O' Lakes loop trail! This entails laying slate gravel, puncheon boardwalk, and building water crossings around the property.
Another exciting and productive month has passed and the Blueway Trails continues to look better and better! Check out the new section of boardwalk along the Beaver Tail Trail at our Emma Wetlands property.
We also have a new trail that will take you safely from Roswell Road into the Preserve along the Woodland Loop Trail.
In addition, we are currently going through a permitting process so we can start on a very exciting new loop trail at Land O Lakes adjacent to Sarah Smith property. More information to come so check back for updates!
We have been busy on Blueway construction this month! About 250 feet of boardwalk has been added to our ADA ramp on the Woodland Loop. The boardwalk gives more accessibility and a better experience in nature. We have also extended the current Woodland Loop boardwalk by the Community Garden and Girl Scout Pavilion.
In addition, we have improved our Painted Turtle Trail by creating an edged trail around the pond. Now, you can enjoy the Painted Turtle Trail without using the Roswell Road sidewalk!
Lastly, we have added about 100 feet of boardwalk on the Beaver Tail Trail in the Emma Wetlands location. Much more boardwalk will be added to Emma soon- check back next month for another update.
Exciting improvements are being made on the trails at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. The accessibility ramp that will take you from the parking lot to the Woodland Loop Trail has been approved and is almost complete.
Timber edging has also been installed along the Woodland Loop Trail. Currently, our trail crew is working on some flagstone landings for areas with erosion problems. Visit the Preserve to see all these enhancements!
Another section of trails has been approved for construction. The next two months we will be focusing on making our trails accessible for everyone. An ADA ramp will be built at the Woodland Loop Trail and puncheon boardwalk will be installed in low spots on the trail.
Additionally, puncheon boardwalks and small bridges will be built around the Emma Wetlands so everyone can safely and dryly navigate these ephemeral wet spaces.
Some finishing work has to be done before we begin this work, including installing edging on the Beaver Tail Trail at the Emma Wetlands.
More improvements have been made on the Painted Turtle Trail and Woodland Loop Trail! We placed trail mix , aka slate gravel, because it is weather resilient and compacts with wear which is more accessible than the wood chips we were using previously.
Much has been done in the past month. Gravel and rock edging has been put down around the community garden and along the Woodland Loop Trail. The outdoor theater has been completed, and a curving staircase was built to reach Roswell Road safely.
We have pushed through the inclement weather to continue improving the existing trails. Some of the preliminary preparation work has started on River Cane and Woodland Loop trails near our building on Roswell Road.
In addition, Tailored Trails has started to lay the new slate chip trail material (aka trail mix) on the Beaver Tail Trail at Emma. This surface is more durable than the wood chips we've been using. More importantly it compacts well creating a uniform surface making it possible for those with mobility challenges be outside in nature.
We will be adding edging and boardwalk where needed to navigate the wettest parts of the Preserve.
We are happy to report after receiving approval from the City we have begun initial work with improvements to the existing trails. Our trail building partners, Tailored Trails have made improvements to existing bridges on the Beaver Tail Trail at Emma and on the Woodland Loop Trail near the Community Garden.