Apr 1, 2022 - News

Local efforts will connect the Chattahoochee River with metro Atlanta

A person sits in a hammock on a sunny day alongside the Chattahoochee River

Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

For the past few years, conservationists, environmentalists, government officials and big thinkers have been quietly working to better connect the metro region with the Chattahoochee River.

Driving the news: Legislation sponsored by Democratic members of Georgia's congressional delegation calls for federal officials to protect and improve the waterway — and makes funding available to do so.

  • Thanks to laws prohibiting development near the river, watchdog efforts by eco advocates, and billions of dollars in infrastructure, the river is cleaner than it's been for decades.

The big picture: Here are a few initiatives at play to make the Chattahoochee cleaner and easier to access:

Chattahoochee RiverLands: This grand vision would create a 125-mile uninterrupted multi-use trail along the river from Buford Dam at Lake Lanier to Chattahoochee Bend State Park. Also on deck: new parks, camping sites and much more.

RiverWalk Atlanta: This collection of trails in northwest Atlanta weaves through a dense forest and is a key connection for the RiverLands plan and other proposed trails.

The National Recreation Area: Today, park officials start welcoming public comment about the park’s first-ever plan to realign its 64 miles of trails. The proposed overhaul would add roughly 16 miles of trails and help reduce erosion.

Thomas’ thought bubble: Watching these projects start to take shape is like watching the early days of the Beltline. It’s gonna take time, it’s gonna probably get a little messy, but done right, the result might be astoundingly beautiful.

A rendering of a man sitting on a rock, watching a man fish in the Chattahoochee River, while people walk on a paved trail nearby
The Chattahoochee RiverLands would link 19 cities with a multi-use trail. Rendering courtesy of Chattahoochee RiverLands

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