Highlands To Islands is a multi use trail system connecting the many great cities together within Hall County with a paved path winding past businesses, scenic areas, college campuses and retail shops. The Highlands To Islands trail will eventually unite any existing greenways together under one-name/one trail for the maximum benefit to the community and its citizens.
Gainesville-Hall County has the greatest amount of protected green space (parks, recreation areas and privately owned open land) of any urban county in Georgia. Elachee Nature Science Center in Chicopee Woods, Smithgall Woodland Garden and Don Carter State Park are key anchors of the green space effort. A highlight of the green space initiative is a network of pathways connecting North Hall, Gainesville & South Hall.
In 2013, the first Greenspace report was completed identifying the most important resources to preserve, developing a priority system for these lands, and exploring the conservation options available.
The committee then took on these initiatives:
• Create a plan for expansion of the Highland to Islands trail system and begin acquisition of land and trail construction. The Highlands to Islands Trail initiative will eventually unite any existing greenways together under one-name/one trail for the maximum benefit to the community and its citizens.
• Create a process that identifies land for permanent protection based upon its recreational, ecological, environmental, aesthetic, cultural, historic or agricultural value. Identify land using this process, and begin implementation measures that assure protection of the land identified.
• Designate a county government position to promote and carry out the work plan
• Identify and adopt a dedicated source of funding for acquisition and maintenance of the H2I trail system and for the permanent protection of greenspace.
The committee works diligently with Hall County officials on many of these initiatives, including the latest 2017 Hall County Comprehensive Land Use Plan. For an overview of Greenspace, view our one pager.
Under the current leadership of Chair Tony Herdener, this group works in these focus areas:
Private – Public Partnerships
Conduit for: research, community voice, support
Build a Foundation for the Future
Create a vibrant presence in the community
Engagement within different groups in the community
Grass Roots “Coalition”
Processes and Criteria
Maintain and expand what has been built
Collaborate with other entities
Tony Herdener, Chair