project leader
Firefly Trail, Inc .
Athens, Maxeys and Union Point (Georgia)
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Our story on ioby's national blog!

the project

The Firefly Trail will be a 39-mile multi-purpose trail in Northeast Georgia, following the abandoned corridor of the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch. From the university city of Athens to the friendly towns of Maxeys and Union Point, the trail will promote safety, better health, economic development, transportation options, tourism, historic preservation -- and fun.

Linking urban, suburban and rural landscapes, the trail will be a linear park that enhances the environment and highlights our region's rich history and culture.

Firefly Trail, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) Georgia charity incorporated to spearhead the creation of the trail. We are working closely with three municipalities -- Maxeys, Union Point and Athens -- to create model miles in each city. All three cities are committed to raising substantial funding to make paving the first segments of the trail a reality. However, additional funds are needed for these projects, especially in the small towns of Maxeys and Union Point.

In partnership with our communities, the Firefly Trail Model Miles Project will spur the creation of the full trail by demonstrating its transformational potential to the entire region. Your help is needed and deeply appreciated!

the steps

Firefly Trail Inc., has had the wonderful opportunity to watch and assist as these three municipalities work hard to raise the necessary funds to start building the trail in their towns. Your donations to our Model Miles Campaign will expand and enhance these efforts. Firefly Trail Inc., will devote 100% of the proceeds as follows–

1. $25,000 to the town of Maxeys for purchasing paving materials, with the goal of building 1.5 miles of paved trail with unpaved side track inside the city limits. Maxeys has secured $316,000 in city funds, grants, and in-kind donations to fund this project. Paving the Maxeys Model Mile is expected to begin in June of 2017 and be completed by fall 2017.

2. $30,000 to the city of Union Point to augment funding for paving materials and construction costs, with a goal of creating a safe route from downtown to Union Point STEAM Academy, a K-8 public school which presently can be accessed only via a high-speed highway. Union Point has secured $150,000 in local funds and grants. Construction is expected to begin on the Union Point Model Mile in summer 2018.

3. Up to $5,000 to assist the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County in promoting their first mile of the Firefly Trail, currently under construction and scheduled for completion in fall 2017. This segment is entirely funded by local sales tax revenues and federal grants. Our funds will assist the unified government in raising awareness of the new trail segment and building public support to complete the remaining 7 miles of trail in Athens-Clarke County.

4.  In the event this campaign raises more than $60,000, any funds in excess of the goal will be used to provide additional assistance to Maxeys and Union Point for trail-related purposes.


why we're doing it

Safety: Many of the towns and all of the rural areas the trail will serve have few, if any, sidewalks, bike facilities or other infrastructure for off-road exercise and active transportation. For example, to walk to their elementary school just north of Union Point, students must use the unimproved shoulder of a busy 2-lane highway. In Athens, three people have tragically lost their lives since 2014 while bicycling on roads close to the route of the Firefly Trail.

Health: Thousands of people living near the trail corridor are unable to play and exercise safety in their own communities. As a result, most don't. Rates of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are among the highest in the nation. Studies show every $1 spent on trails yields $2.94 in direct health benefits.  Using the trail will not only be safer, it will be fun -- inspiring more people to get up and get moving. The Firefly Trail will bring opportunities and hope for longer, healthier, happier lives.

Economic development: Many of the neighborhoods and communities served by the Firefly Trail are struggling economically. Trails create opportunities for new and existing businesses; attract new residents, entrepreneurs and tourists; boost property values, and improve quality of life. A Firefly Trail economic impact study estimates the finished trail will attract more than 1.1 million users a year and generate $14.7 million in annual economic impact. Just building the trail will generate/sustain 158 jobs.

Attractive corridor: The corridor connects charming towns, beautiful countryside, schools, businesses, historic features and town centers. Importantly, as an abandoned railroad corridor, it provides a level route through the hills and valleys of Northeast Georgia, allowing people of all ages and abilities to enjoy using it.


  • $25,000 to match existing city, state and grant funding for the Maxeys Model Mile
  • $30,000 to match city funds (committed) and a state/federal grant (application pending) for the Union Point Model Mile
  • $5,000 to assist the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County with raising awareness of the Athens Model Mile

Firefly Trail Model Miles subtotal = $60,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $1,800
Total to raise on ioby= $61,835



Our story on ioby's national blog!

by ioby
April 17, 2017

One of the coolest stories we get to tell, here at ioby, is the story in which someone smart and inspired moves away from home to live somewhere new for a period of time, gets exposed to a life-changing idea, and then brings it back home  when they return months or years later. These leaders  are like pollinators, buzzing from state to state, town to town, spreading ideas that work, and leaving  fruit-bearing trees in their wake. It’s a story that  never     gets old....





Thank you to our Ticket To Ride Donors!

Thank you for all of the support we received during the Ticket To Ride event! We had record numbers at our 6th Annual Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride roll out of Athens and Winterville on Saturday, March 25. Thank you to all those who came out in support of the Firefly Trail.

Your generous donations helped us raise an additional $1,000 (plus the match) for our Trail!

Clay Winkler            Julie Kittleson           Dewitt Pittman          Betsy Pless

Bernie Schlitzer            Eric Nesmith             Rich Born                 Nancy Stangle

Mike Ely                 Mark Robirds             Pat Jarris               Anonymous

Debbi & John Bartolomei           Meghan Walsh            Julie Semones         

Naomi Bledsoe             Anonymous             Becky Poulson            David Proctor        

Karl Scott   Anonymous       Liv Bledsoe     Anonymous           Jane Boyd  

Check out more great Firefly Trail Photos here.

Double Your Donations - Special Match Announced!

Firefly Trail has just received a special match to double donations to our campaign, up to $5,000. To learn more about this wonderful opportunity visit:


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • John Floyd
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