Stephens Co. Trail Getting Grant Money for Repairs

A Stephens County trail will receive grant money to help with repairs.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced last week that the U.S. Forest Service’s Frady Branch trail system is getting a $100,000 grant. The Frady Branch Trail System is located in the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area off of Highway 184 in Stephens County, south of Currahee Mountain.

Trail Grant Coordinator Bryan Alexander said the grant will help the Forest Service maintain the trail system and build a one-mile replacement for a trail that is no longer usable.

“You have a 14-mile trail system there,” said Alexander. “Some of it has been damaged by use over the years and some by weather. They are going to use a $100,000 grant in part to re-route part of the trail that has become unusable.”

The Frady Branch trail system is one of 16 projects selected by the state to receive part of a total of $1.66 million in grant funds.

Alexander said that the federal government provides the grant funding and the Georgia DNR determines who receives it.

“It is a grant program that distributes federal funds through a competitive process, mostly to cities and counties but also to state and federal agencies, to develop and maintain recreational trails on their public lands,” said Alexander.

The DNR said trails for hiking, biking, and horseback are eligible for the grant program, as are canoe and kayak launches. The agency added that funding is also available for trails that accommodate motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road light trucks.

According to DNR officials, both equestrians and mountain bikers ride the Frady Branch trail system.

Alexander said federal funding like this is essential to maintaining Georgia’s trail systems.

“State government has not had the money to provide for this type of project and local governments are strapped too,” he noted.

Each recipient of grant funding through this program must provide a local match of at least 20 percent to the cost of the project.

According to Alexander, the local match for the Frady Branch project will come from in-kind services provided towards the project by both U.S. Forest Service staff and other groups willing to get involved.