Hiking trails in works?

Published 3:47 pm Monday, April 3, 2006

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
Hiking in Escambia County just got safer.
Recently, the Escambia County Commission accepted a proposal by the Alabama Hiking Trail Society requesting funds to purchase equipment to aid in the maintenance and construction of hiking trails for the public within the county.
According to County Administrator Tony Sanks, the commission receives funding from the U. S. Department of Agriculture from National Forest Receipts attributable to the Conecuh National Forest.
Approximately $5,400 was spent for the AHTS equipment, while the remainder was allocated to the Alabama Forestry Commission for community forestry projects.
The funds requested are not from tax dollars, but instead are acquired through the sales of timber at Conecuh National Forest and are earmarked by the county for recreational purposes, said Joe Cuhaj, vice president of the AHTS.
Cuhaj said the donated money was used by AHTS to purchase two chainsaws and safety equipment, inclinometers to measure grades, a hip chain for measuring distances, a utility trailer to store and transport equipment, and a DR Mower for clearing trail paths.
Cuhaj said AHTS immediately took the equipment and put it to use for the public.
Cuhaj said the trail had been &#8220virtually” wiped out by the recent hurricanes.
AHTS members Erik Douglas and Johnny Miller, both from Brewton, spearheaded the proposal.
They are members of the chapter out of Brewton called the Three Notch Hikers.
The trail winds from Key West to Pensacola into Alabama, Cuhaj said.
Douglas could not be reached for comment.
The Alabama Hiking Trail Society was founded in 2001 and is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, protect, maintain and develop a statewide hiking trail system.
The organization not only builds and maintains trails but also organizes hikes throughout the state and educates the public on the health benefits of hiking and backpacking.
It also builds and maintains hiking and backpacking trails throughout the state.