Talking Rock Nature Preserve

 

We are building a park in Talking Rock, Georgia!

Talking Rock Nature Preserve provides a vast scenic view that “speaks” to all that take time out to stop, observe and listen. Your heart, mind, and soul will become captivated as you sit among the rocks and scan the pristine landscape allowing your senses to absorb all that abounds.

The Talking Rock Nature Preserve includes 220 acres of natural beauty that provide a glimpse into a multitude of ecosystems, opportunities for environmental education as well as a diverse mix of passive recreational experiences open to the public.

Talking Rock Nature Preserve was donated to the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (STPAL) in 2012. With the desire to preserve the natural land while also providing experiences for the general public, STPAL embarked on the Envisioning and Designing Phase of the park plan.

A Master Vision Plan was then created that allows for the park’s various infrastructure and amenities to be continuously rolled out as community support allows. The Vision even calls for some opportunities that are not currently found in Pickens County.

Talking Rock Site Plan includes:

  • 12 miles of hiking, biking and multi-use Trails
  • Picnic & Play Area
    • Picnic tables
    • Platforms for chairs and sunshades
    • Small shelters
    • Areas for Hammocks
    • Horseshoe pits
    • Toddler Play are
    • Native flowing plants
  • Adventure Course Trail Zone
    • Obstacle course elements
    • Various experiences for different ages, skills and fitness levels
  • Disc Course
  • Interpretive signage and environmental education
  • Wildlife habitat projects (such as butterfly houses and bee hotels)
  • Bee Hives
  • Native Plant Gardens
  • Pollinator Gardens

Click here for the Site Plan!

Preserve/Park Status Update

The forested preserve provides opportunities to improve unnaturally dense or diverse forest and flora.  This preserve has historically been used for timber production. In 2014, a selective tree harvest was completed to improve the health of the forest and create more diverse habitat areas.

The 12 mile trail system has been flagged and is being constructed. Funds have been raised for the first 5 miles of the trail system. As of March 1, 2018 there are 7 miles of trails completed and they are currently being used by bikers, runners, and walkers alike.

The 2.75-mile green trail loop (now known as Jon’s Trail) was designed and built to be smooth with no roots and rocks. It’s great for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities with no steep hills anywhere to be found. Newbies and veteran bikers often come up to us and say that it’s one of the most fun trails in North Georgia.

The blue trail loop of 1.25 miles (now known as Nitro Nix South), as well as the parking lot, were completed on January 1, 2018. This second loop is fundamentally the same as the first, but it is a much faster ride that’s meant for cyclists with a little more mountain biking experience.

The other blue trail (now known as Nitro Nix North) is a 1-mile down-and-back that stretches from our parking lot to the Northern-most point of the property. This trail is slightly more tricky to ride than its neighbor, Nitro Nix South.

The fourth and fifth trails, stretching 0.3 and 0.7 miles respectively, were completed on May 5th, 2018. They are both walking-only trails designed for those looking to run or walk through nature without needing to be on the lookout for oncoming cyclists. The 0.3-mile orange trail (now known as Pollinator Walk) takes you from Jon’s Trail up to the pollinator garden and beehives at an easy incline designed with small children and elderly people in mind. The 0.7-mile red trail is a loop that is slightly more difficult than Pollinator Walk but makes up for it by taking you through some of the most beautiful parts of the Preserve including a pleasant walk along a bubbling creek.

The final 5-7 miles of trails will feature trails and sections with steep hills, jumps, rock gardens, and other features for serious riders. We think we are building a trail system for everyone for all skill levels to use and enjoy. And, of course, hikers/walkers are welcome on any of the trails. For safety and enjoyment, we ask that you please walk the opposite direction of the riders (directions are posted at trail heads) and step off the trail for a moment as bikers pass. Bikers, please slow down whenever you pass anyone on foot.

We celebrated our Trail-Dedication and Ribbon Cutting ceremony on May 5th, 2018. So many of the local community and volunteers came out to mark the day as a truly special celebration for people all over North Georgia. We hope to put on more events and celebrations as the Preserve continues to expand and solidify itself as an important part of the community.

It should also be said that there have already been two successful Boy Scout Eagle Projects completed at Talking Rock Nature Preserve. There are a plethora of possible Eagle Project opportunities so if you are interested, please consider starting a project with a real community impact. For ideas, please check out our Wish List.

How Can You Help?

A Talking Rock Friends Group has now been formed. As a nonprofit, volunteers and community support are crucial to progression of the park. Friends may help during volunteer workdays, raise funding to support park elements but most importantly, provide input into desired park elements. Your engagement will help Talking Rock to become a best kept secret ofe North Georgia.

Please contact the Friends of Talking Rock group for more information or to get involved! We can be reached via our Facebook (accessible on our sidebar) or through our email at ftr@stpal.org.

Donate funds to help provide an element for the park. Naming opportunities are available and information is available by contact STPAL.

Donate Here!

Sponsor a wish list item or Boy/Girl scout Eagle or Gold project.

Don’t forget to follow us on FaceBook at the Talking Rock Nature Preserve Facebook page!

Location/Directions to Property

The Talking Rock Property (the “Property”) is located adjacent to Old Whitestone Road East and is bisected by Carnes Mill Road. From Atlanta, travel north on Highway 575 and continue on 515 (Zell Miller Parkway). Turn left onto Carnes Mill Road and travel 0.73 miles to reach the southern property boundary where you’ll see two connecting trails and park signage. The Property borders both sides of Carnes Mill Road for an additional 0.5 miles.

We are also on Google Maps! Just search “Talking Rock Nature Preserve” and we should pop up.

 

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