Alpharetta partnering with bike group to construct off-road trail for riders, wheelchairs

Adventurous trail users in north Fulton will soon have a new path to explore.

Alpharetta and Southern Off-Road Bike Association are partnering to develop an adaptive multi-use trail that could be the first of its kind in Georgia. Adaptive trails are for everyone to use and particularly people with disabilities who want off-road recreation, said Mark McCabe, marketing director for Roswell Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization (RAMBO).

The 1½-mile trail already exists in a wooded area along Big Creek in Alpharetta. Cyclists, runners and walkers turned it into an informal path, McCabe said. Last year, RAMBO suggested to city officials that the path be developed into a formal trail that people with disabilities could also use.

McCabe said that when the path is developed people will be able to bring such equipment as off-road mountain wheelchairs or three-wheel handcycles to the trail.

The trail extends from Alpharetta’s Rock Mill Park on Kimball Bridge Road in Alpharetta east to a patch of land near North Point Community Church and North Point Parkway.

RAMBO will develop the dirt path to about three feet wide and use rock with flat surfaces to protect sections from water and mud, McCabe said. The work will be done by RAMBO at no cost to the city. The bike organization received a $10,000 grant from REI Co-op to perform the work, McCabe said.

An existing trail runs close to Big Creek between North Point Community Church and Alpharetta’s Rock Mill Park.

“The people who are using these (trails) are looking for a ride-on-dirt experience,” he said. “…(For) adaptive cyclists, this is the experience that they would like to have that is not really available to them.”

McCabe said his research found the nearest adaptive dirt trail is located in North Carolina.

Alpharetta and the Southern Off-Road Bike Association officials have a memorandum of understanding that will soon be signed formalizing development of the local path, Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard said. RAMBO is a chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bike Association.

Sections of the trail includes property owned by Alpharetta, Fulton County and North Point Community Church. McCabe said, he hopes to get permission from the county and church to develop their sections of the trail by the end of October and formally open the trail in March.

RAMBO also developed dirt paths at Big Creek Park in Roswell, Mount Adams Park in Alpharetta and Charleston Park in Cumming, McCabe said.