The Cricket Frog Trail is a 15-mile rail trail running through central Newton County, along the route once travelled by the Central of Georgia Railroad. At present, approximately six and a half miles of mostly primitive trail are open for public use. In February 2017, Newton Trails began hard surface paving of the trail with a 12-foot-wide concrete section .65 miles long between Elm Street and Conyers Street in downtown Covington. Since then an additional section was added by paving from Elm St. to Pace St. A quarter mile section has also been paved in the City of Mansfield. While the primitive sections are best suited to hiking and mountain biking, the concrete trail is accessible for all non-motorized traffic and wheelchairs.
ABOUT THE CRICKET FROG TRAIL
The Cricket Frog Trail is built on the section of the old railroad right-of-way that runs 14.4 miles from Lakeview Drive, just inside Covington's western city limit to Ziegler Road, just east of Mansfield. It travels through historic Covington, Starsville, and Mansfield as well as past scenic pastures and woodlands. Future plans call for the trail to begin in Porterdale and end in Newborn.
The current trail segments include:
· Turner Lake Road to Elm Street in Covington. Park at Turner Lake Park or the parking deck across Elm Street from the Newton County Administration Building.
· Elm Street to Conyers Street in Covington. Park in the parking deck across Elm Street from the Newton County Administration Building or at Legion Field.
· Conyers Street to Covington Bypass.
· Covington Bypass (Hwy 36) to East End Road. Park just off Piper Road at the trail crossing. East End Road to Alcovy River. Note that this section is unpaved and the bridge over the river is closed to the public until it can be renovated for safe passage.
· Alcovy River to Gaithers Road. Park at Old Starsville Road or on Highway 213 about a quarter mile west of Gaithers Road.
· Gaithers Road to Ziegler Road (east of Mansfield). Park in downtown Mansfield or at Beaver Park.
The bridge located at the Alcovy River is closed to the public until it can be renovated for safe passage.
THE CRICKET FROG
Cricket frogs (Acris crepitans) are a small (0.75 to 1.5 inches) species of tree frog that mostly lives on the ground. Their color varies from gray, brown, or green, and many have a brown to orange or green stripe down the center of their back and a triangular marking on the top of their head.
Northern cricket frogs live in the Piedmont and mountain regions of the Southeast, Southern cricket frogs in the Coastal Plain. Although found in almost any moist habitat, cricket frogs are most common along edges of lakes, permanent wetlands and slow-moving streams. They prefer open, shallow water with plenty of vegetation. The Georgia Wildlife Federation identifies the Northern cricket frog as one of the native species in the Alcovy River area, which the Cricket Frog Trail crosses.
Cricket frogs feed on small insects, mostly mosquitoes. The call of the cricket frog resembles the sound of crickets or marbles clicking together. The cricket frog is one of the best amphibian jumpers in the world, reaching a height of three feet, over 60 times its body length.
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CRICKET FROG TRAIL IN NEWTON COUNTY
We're excited about having a beautiful rail trail in Newton County and know that Cricket Frog Trail will provide many benefits for our community.
SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY
As demonstrated across the country in trail-oriented communities, Cricket Frog Trail will attract high quality industry and employees who seek healthy lifestyles and outdoor recreation opportunities. Rail trails also attract tourists who spend money in the towns along the trail. Subsequently, trails help to grow small business opportunities benefiting the local economy.
PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
Free and open to the public, trails serve citizens of all economic backgrounds. As a former rail line running through central Newton County, Cricket Frog Trail will connect all five Newton County cities, diverse neighborhoods, commercial areas, historic districts, and civic and recreation facilities. With a gentle grade, the rail trail is accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
PRESERVE HISTORY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Cricket Frog Trail will also help preserve and share the history and natural beauty of Newton County. Moving at a slower pace than those traveling by car, pedestrians and cyclists take time to read historic markers, photograph old buildings and natural scenery, and seek out the stories behind the places they visit, all of which can fuel preservation efforts.
INCREASE RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES
Another important benefit will be residents' increased access to recreation. According to the 2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings, 34 percent of Newton County adults are obese, compared to 29 percent statewide. Additionally, 30 percent of Newton County adults are inactive, compared to 25 percent statewide. CDC data shows a strong correlation between communities with high incidences of walking and biking and lower levels of obesity-related illnesses like diabetes.
HOW TRAILS ARE IMPACTING OTHER COMMUNITIES
Communities across the country have found that rail trails increase property values and support small business development. We encourage you to watch Rockdale County's Try the Trails video to learn how our neighbor to the west is utilizing trail development as an asset.
Watch the short video on the right for an overview of the challenges and triumphs of the Ecusta, Virginia Creeper and Swamp Rabbit trails. Property owners, public officials and other residents in communities with rail trails have seen their communities revived and enriched with the addition of a rail trail.
The short video above illustrates the community impacts of the Ecusta, Virginia Creeper and Swamp Rabbit trails.
WE CAN DO IT WITH YOUR SUPPORT
The development of the 14.4-mile Cricket Frog Trail, which runs through the heart of Newton County, is no small undertaking, and Newton Trails needs widespread support.
You can support trail development by becoming a supporter of Newton Trails today or, if you' have already given a donation, consider becoming an annual supporter/donor. Newton Trails is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and your tax-deductible contribution will help us fulfill our mission of developing an interconnected, greenway trail system in Newton County.
Other ways to support the rails to trails project include: talking to friends and neighbors about the benefits of trails, contacting elected officials to express your support for trails, attending a Newton Trails event, and volunteering your time and expertise with Newton Trails.
You can also enroll in the shopping rewards programs that Newton Trails participates in through Kroger and AmazonSmile. The more people who participate the more money we can earn to fund trail development.
Want more information about the rail trail? Visit our RAIL TRAIL FAQ page. Together we can build this trail!