Year End Director’s Message

River Region Trails is committed to developing a network of pedestrian greenways, parks, and outdoor resources in the River Region. Many people in our area have worked on various aspects of this mission for a long time. Beginning in January of 2020, we launched a full-time effort to make these dreams and plans into reality. Little did we know how many obstacles and how much uncertainty would be thrown at us this year.  It is an understatement to say that it has been a challenge, but we have still been able to make progress to be proud of.

Building off the guidance of the Envision2040 Strategic Plan that was adopted by the City of Montgomery this year, River Region Trails has initiated a Master Planning effort for a network of trails and greenways throughout the City. We have partnered with Alta Planning + Design, a nationally recognized leader in the design of active transportation networks, to develop our Master Plan. The first phase, called the Concept Plan, is underway now and will be ready for presentation in early 2021.  The Concept Plan will include and economic and health impact studies as well as an assessment of past planning efforts and land use opportunities in Montgomery.

The master planning process will provide the road map we need for determining where trails can and should go in the future. While planning is underway, we are advocating for improved pedestrian access and experiences for the community now. We are working with the City of Montgomery to advance extensions of the Riverfront Greenway Trail and improve walking opportunities downtown. We have partnered with organizations to advocate for a variety of community-based health and active living improvements. Next year we will be hosting “pop-up” trails in several areas to prove the benefits of investing in infrastructure for walkability.

An additional area of focus for our organization is Cypress Nature Park. This hidden gem is a unique ecological system located within walking distance of the Alabama State Capitol. Taking the reins from the Montgomery Nature Conservancy, we have revived the previous development plan that was created in 2011. We have been working on updating that concept and taking the next step toward establishing this undeveloped property into an environmental education park that will be a jewel of the area. The plan provides for 6-8 miles of walking and hiking trails inside the park for people that want to explore the unique scenery and wildlife.

To continue down this productive path in 2021, we need the continued support of the entire community. You can help us tremendously simply by telling your friends and family about River Region Trails and our mission. Encourage them to connect with us on our website, sign up for our newsletter and reach out to me with any questions. Like all nonprofit organizations we rely on the generosity of private donors to keep us moving forward, so please consider including us in your end-of-year giving. A livable, active community with new public trails and parks will be a holiday present for everyone.

Have a Happy New Year!

Will O'Connor