Collaborating for Community: Mayor Carlos Duffey and Ike English Discuss the Creeks Trail System in Jackson, Georgia

Episode 330

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On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with two amazing guests, Mayor Carlos Duffey of Jackson, Georgia, and Ike English of the Dauset Trails Nature Center, both of whom played a pivotal role in the Creeks Trail System and Butts County’s recent recognition with the Trailblazers Award from the Georgia CVB Association. We focus on their collaborative efforts, its positive impact on the city of Jackson, and the significance of having the right individuals involved in creating such transformative projects.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Mayor Carlos Duffey shares why he was persuaded to run for public office
  • How Ike’s interest in nature and building trails led to his current project
  • When they first spotted the trend for people using outdoor trails and the collaboration across a variety of sectors
  • How they use the trails to connect residents and visitors and bring them into the city to use local businesses
  • Roadblocks Mayor Carlos and Ike had to work around in finding the right partners and bringing the trail project to completion

Connecting the Trail and the City

Mayor Carlos describes how he envisioned connecting every part of Jackson back to the town square to bring visitors and residents alike to sample the town’s restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. He shares how they can benefit from the economic impact of the trail and why the city is working with local transportation services to add new roundabouts and bike lanes that will provide safe access to the Trailhead.

2022 Trailblazer Award

Ike shares more about some of the roadblocks they hit and challenges they encountered when they first started building the trails, including convincing local landowners and residents who were less than enthusiastic about the project.

The pair share more details about their four trailheads, what kind of people are using the trails, and why their unique project won the 2022 Trailblazer Award. Mayor Carlos and Ike also dive into how they track numbers of trail users and why it’s essential for them to understand how they are being used so they can make plans for how to expand the network.

The Outdoor Capital of Georgia

Jackson is considered the outdoor capital of Georgia, thanks to its two state parks and the Dauset Trail. The city takes great pride in this title and wants to make the most of it by encouraging people to walk or bike rather than drive.

My guests share why the trails have been vital in promoting this vision, and the city is excited to see the enthusiasm around it. The younger generation is a particular focus, and the city hopes to introduce more children to the trails to develop their love for nature. The Dauset Trail already does an excellent job of engaging students, but the city wants to expand the outreach and make it a part of its future.


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