On a warm, sunny day In 1991, three buddies chatting on a bike ride conceived the notion that Atlanta needed better places to walk and bike. The city had only recently been selected to host the 1996 Summer Olympics, and Ed McBrayer, Pete Pellegrini, and Maxine Rock believed they could build a system of greenway trails before the world arrived in the Summer of '96. On that day, the PATH Foundation was born.
This year, PATH turns 20. And, in two short decades, the group has built over 160 miles of greenway trails around metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. PATH's most ambitious and best loved undertaking is the Silver Comet Trail in Cobb, Polk, and Paulding counties. The group's partnership with those three counties and the state was created in the July of 1998. And, by that Fall, the first section of trail was already open for use. By 2003, 38 miles of trail had been built. And, in 2008, the final section was completed to link 61 miles of trail in Georgia to 33 more on the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama. All that the Silver Comet Trail encompasses today was build in one decade.
From ambitious beginnings, a small group of dreamers and doers has given the people of north Georgia more than 160 linear miles of passive recreation area across urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. And, another 100 miles of trail are on the drawing board and under construction. PATH trails are used by tens of millions annually, providing healthy recreation for residents and attracting tourism dollars that have revitalized communities. For an up-close view of thee incredible facilities, check out the slide show on the PATH website.
Maybe we have to start small. But, won't get anywhere if we think small. As the saying goes: "Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it." And, PATH has shown us what can be done.