American Trails' 21st National Trails Awards Program honors people and programs at the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium. The awards celebration was held at Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona, April 16, 2013.
The State Trail Worker Award recognizes an individual that has demonstrated outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. It is intended to recognize the commitment and efforts of a private or public sector individual working for enhanced trail recreation in their local area/state.
Charles and Anne Thrash - FLORIDA
Charles Thrash - 2013 State Trail Worker Award for Florida
The City of Chattahoochee is a small rural community of 5,445, nestled on the majestic river bluffs along the beautiful Apalachicola River in north Florida. The community, located within a Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern has been working to improve its quality of life.
Lifelong residents of Chattahoochee, actually as family for 200 years, Charles and Anne Thrash have become the City’s trails champions. Their trails work began in 2007 and continues today. This dynamic duo truly understand the importance of how sustainable trails benefit a community by offering opportunities for healthy lifestyles and economic development through sustainable ecotourism.
In Charles’ words, “the Chattahoochee area, with the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers joining to become the Apalachicola River, is the most beautiful places in the country. The area along the river has one of the most diverse plant and flora in the world. That’s a long drawn out explanation of what the Chattahoochee area means to me and my wife, Anne. That’s why we wanted Chattahoochee to have a trail system along and near the Apalachicola River so Chattahoochee could share the beauty and educational opportunity with all Floridians and the rest of the world.”
Anne Thrash - 2013 State Trail Worker Award for Florida
“Times have been hard here and Chattahoochee needs the clean industry a tourist economy can provide. We have an RV Park, boat landing, floating dock for fishing, covered picnic area, open stage for music, Native American Ceremonial Mount and Trailhead all located along or near the beautiful Apalachicola River all shaded by tall hardwood and pine trees.”
“I sometimes wonder if I am seeing some of the same things my great-great-grandfather saw.”
Desiring to increase the residents’ physical activity and attract new visitors, upgrading the Angus Gholson Park trails seemed a perfect fit. Charles and Anne stepped forward and volunteered to search for trail development and renovation funding. They learned about the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and participated in several Office of Greenways & Trails provided workshops, including Building Better Trails, Universal Trails Assessment Process (UTAP) as well as the RTP Grant Implementation Workshop – before even applying.
With the success of their first project completed in 2012, the City’s residents now enjoy an updated and expanded recreational trail system in Angus Gholson Park. Through Charles & Anne’s efforts, the completed project received CRT RTP Achievement Award in the Construction & Design category this past June.
Their work on the Angus Gholson Nature Trails continues today as they represent the City in several regional trail connection efforts. They are hard at work as they assist with planning of the Road to Torreya Trail which will connect the City with a nearby state park, as well as connecting the City’s trails to those in Georgia.