Hikers now have another option to reach the summit of Satulah Mountain after a quarter-mile of trail has been rehabilitated. The trailhead is located off of Satulah Road, just after the fork in the road at Satulah and Worley Roads. The rehabilitated trail then connects with the trail that leads to the summit of Satulah Mountain.
The project was a joint venture between the Highlands Plateau Greenway and the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. Greenway Vice President Hillrie Quin spearheaded the project and contracted Tate Landscaping Services to do the rehabilitation. He said that hiring professionals would be quicker and safer than using volunteers. He added that this would have never happened without the support of donors, especially Julian Franklin.
“Julian said to me ‘I’ll fund it if you can rehabilitate the trail,’” said Quin.
Franklin’s family has been hiking the trails on Satulah Mountain for decades. Franklin and his long-time friend Jim Green, who is the author of “Satulah: The Mountain,” have always felt the public should have access to such a beautiful landmark. Green passed away last year and Franklin felt he should continue their mission.
“The trail was constructed in 1996-97 and makes it possible to reach the summit,” said Franklin. “The hope is that the public will use this trail instead of Worley Road. We (Green and Franklin) fell in love with Satulah. Jim and I worked for years to maintain access to the summit but it became apparent we weren’t getting it done.”
On Monday, donors, family, friends, volunteers, and those involved in the project dedicated a plaque in memory of Green at the trailhead at World’s End. All those present spoke and thanked everyone involved and praised the time and commitment that was shown to complete the project.
Land Trust Executive Director Gary Wein said a project like this has several benefits to the community.
“The idea is it gives you an alternate route that is safer and it gets you on a trail and off a road,” he said. “It’s awesome because the public recognizes the value and importance of Satulah. The public needs access to Satulah and the public likes to hike.”
Jim Tate, owner of Tate Landscaping Services and recently elected Macon County Commissioner said his team replaced several old stairs, added handrails, and installed water bars to solve the erosion problems. The entire project took about two weeks. He added that he supports projects like this and everyone should be able to access such a community treasure.
“It’s a natural wonder of the area,” he said. “Personally, I think it’s my favorite in the area. Donors and volunteers who made something like this happen aren’t usually recognized, the fact they’re doing this means we live in a really special place.”
At the plaque ceremony, Land Trust President Bill Mauldin thanked all of the donors and volunteers, especially Hillrie Quin for making this project possible.
“It’s amazing the amount of people who came together, donors came together, volunteers came together, and we had good leadership (Quin),” he said. “I know the community will enjoy this trail and I really hope they make use of it.”
Greenway Board Member Kevin Gates said that everyone deserves to enjoy this area, regardless of economic status.
“If you’re wealthy you can have access to something like this whenever you want, but if you’re not, you need public access for everyone to see it,” said Gates.
Pam Carver, Franklin’s daughter, said she cherished hiking the trails on Satulah Mountain her entire life and looks forward to hiking them with her grandchildren.
“This is great because it belongs to the public,” said Carver. “God didn’t put it up here only for the people who live up there. I feel like I’m the queen of the world when I’m up there.”
Quin recommended that the public should park at the area where 4th and 3rd Streets intersect and walk up Satulah Road. At the fork of Worley and Satulah Roads, take a right and walk up a short distance to the trailhead, which is on the left.
By Brian O’Shea