Mayor Matt’s March Mountain March returns Saturday

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With spring quickly approaching, Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini encourages the public to take part in his March Mountain March at Pine Mountain Recreation Area Saturday. 

“We thought, ‘Wow, what a great way to promote Pine Mountain,'” he said, referring also to his wife, who initially hiked the trail. “… It’s kind of a social event to get people who haven’t hiked the mountain before [to] come out or people that do hike the mountain [to] meet some new friends to go hike the mountain with.

“Hiking is one of those things that you want to have somebody to go with you. So it turned into a social event and an awareness event for Pine Mountain.”

After meeting at 9:45 a.m., Mayor Matt’s March Mountain March’s hikers will depart at 10 a.m. from the west trailhead, which is located off Main Street near Interstate 75’s Exit 288.

“It’s a good event, and we always have a big crowd,” Cartersville Parks & Recreation Assistant Director Britt McGill said. “I feel like they get to connect and do something with our public figurehead. It’s a way to enjoy the mountain while meeting people that make decisions in our city.”

Obtained by the city of Cartersville in late 2002, Pine Mountain Recreation Area is a portion of the 13,000 acres that Mark Cooper’s Iron Empire originally called home. The trail system — that was created by Switchbacks Trail Design and Construction — was dedicated in October 2007. It features a pair of paths: the 1.57-mile west loop and 2.34-mile east loop, which can be accessed near Komatsu’s entrance and Spur 20, respectively.

Hikers are rewarded with views of the city of Cartersville, Lake Allatoona and Kennesaw Mountain from the 1,562 feet above sea level summit. While the trails are open daily to hikers, cyclists only can ride the east loop on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

“You can just look at the parking lot and see when people are hiking that a lot of these people come from other parts of the community,” Santini said. “As a matter of fact, last year when we finished the hike there was a group of about four or five college students that actually asked me where a dog-friendly restaurant was afterward. So I said, ‘Follow me,’ and shepherded them over to a restaurant.

“Good recreational facilities bring people to the community. A lot of the times that’s the first thing people see in our community. … Pine Mountain and other trails [are] a resource for people to use. It kind of puts our best face forward in the community and can be a great economic development tool.”

For further details about the upcoming hike or Pine Mountain Recreation Area, call the Cartersville Parks & Recreation Department at 770-387-5626 or visit www.cityofcartersville.org/459/Pine-Mountain-Hikes.