GFCA has established a joint committee of the Transportation and Environment, Parks & Trails committees to examine how it can facilitate a local trails network to increase mobility in our community while also preserving the environment and landscape which residents value. The committee includes members of the Great Falls Trail Blazers, equestrians, and other interested residents.
At its most recent meeting on April 28, the committee heard from a working group that is investigating trail surfaces other than stone dust for possible application in commercial and heavy pedestrian-use areas of Great Falls. It reported on the durability and cost of asphalt, concrete, stone dust, and brick, including surfaces that are pervious. The greatest cost in building a trail is not the surface material, but the engineering, site clearing, drainage and other related expenses.
Another current priority of the committee is to develop digital maps that the community can readily access to see the location of current trails and plans for future trails along major local roads. While those maps currently exist on paper, they are unwieldy and can’t be provided electronically to residents. ESRI, a geographic information systems (GIS) company, has added GFCA to its list of non-profit organizations that can use their expensive mapping software at minimal cost. The committee is looking for residents with experience with ArcGIS software who can help us develop these digital maps.
In addition, the committee discussed funding sources, including grants and government funding, as well as the current county project being done under a Trail Blazers initiative to install a new trail along Georgetown Pike near Utterback Store Road. Some residents have expressed concern over the loss of many trees and the bulldozing of the landscape, which they feel could have been done in a better way. This will remain a focus of the committee, which agreed at its meeting to raise installation and engineering issues with Supervisor Foust.