Getting It Started
The Chief Ladiga Trail began in 1990
when the Calhoun County Commission and the City
of Piedmont received an Intermodal Surface Transportation
Efficiency Act (ISTEA) enhancement grant, through
the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALaDOT),
to fund construction of the first 8.9 mile section
of the trail. In 1994, the cities of Piedmont
and Jacksonville and the Cleburne County Commission
were awarded ISTEA grants. In 1997, the cities
of Jacksonville, Weaver and Anniston were awarded
grants from the National Recreational Trails Fund
(NRTF) to construct either trail connections or
access facilities. Also in 1997, the city of Weaver
received an ISTEA grant to construct its 2.5 mile
section of the trail.
In Calhoun County, the trail is designed
to accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, strollers,
inline skates, and wheel chairs. In Cleburne County,
the trail will be designed to accommodate equestrians,
mountain bikes and hikers.
The Chief Ladiga Trail has been under
development for over fifteen years. Segment by segment,
it seems to get bigger every year. Starting in
Piedmont and moving to Jacksonville, Weaver and
Anniston there is now more pavement for recreation,
transportation and health than ever before. In
1998, both Weaver and Jacksonville opened their
respective sections of the trail. The section
south of Jacksonville has been completed and recently,
the section going through the Jacksonville State
University (JSU) campus has been completed.
In fact, the summer of 2007 should be the season when the Chief Ladiga meets the Silver Comet! As of April 1st (no fooling), all funds were in place to begin construction of the remaining two unpaved Alabama sections. The eight mile gap has been enhanced with four beautifully renovated bridges that cross over the winding Terrapin Creek. Pending weather conditions, by the end of Spring or possibly Summer, the entire trail should be paved with asphalt, eight feet wide, to a newly constructed Stateline Gateway where riders and other trail users can stand with one foot in Alabama and the other in Georgia.
At the other end and to the south, there are two additional Chief Ladiga expansions being discussed and planned. One will extend the CLT into the former Fort McClellan and the other will continue the trail to the Amtrak Station in Anniston, AL. All of these efforts require the support of trail users and so please consider contacting us to see how you can best assist these expansions.