Celebrate Earth Day on the OHT

Rachel Maddox

Celebrate Earth Day in one of Macon’s many natural treasures: the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail!

The OHT is one of best ways to appreciate Macon’s beautiful tree population—one of Earth Day’s biggest goals. Over eleven miles long, this trail is connected to many of the local parks and allows you to explore Macon’s natural side at your leisure. Though some parts of the trail are not yet fully connected, the OHT is one of NewTown’s most ambitious and beneficial projects yet. The idea was originally conceived in 1996 by NewTown’s founders and has been in progress ever since. Funded publicly and privately at no cost to the taxpayer, the completed OHT will be turned over to Macon-Bibb and run in perpetuity as a public park. Until then, there are miles of completed trails that are free and open to the public. These trails run along nearly a dozen of Macon’s parks, including some of the most famous ones: Central City Park, Amerson River Park, and the Ocmulgee National Monument.

The oldest designated public park in Macon is Central City Park. Located in downtown, Central City Park was the original home of the Georgia State Fair, the site of many Allman Brothers concerts in the ’60s, and is the heart of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. It is on the southern end of the OHT and is a great starting point for exploring the rest of the trails.

A few miles north of Central City Park is the Ocmulgee National Monument, a testament to human habitation in the Central Georgia area: according to a pre-World War II archeological dig, the area has been populated since 12,000 BC. The monument commemorates these ancient people and showcases the artifacts and mounds that they built, with several miles of trails for visitors to walk and learn about Macon’s ancient history. Inhabited by the Muscogee (Creek)Nation in historic times, this beautiful area is a commemoration of its original residents.

On the northmost point of the trail is Amerson River Park, one of the most modern parks in middle Georgia. Until the flood of 1994, Amerson was the home of the Macon Water Authority, and now the park known for its accessibility and variety of activities for families. With paved trails; a state-of-the-art, handicapped-accessible playground; a canoe launch and takeout; and pavilions overlooking the Ocmulgee River, the 180-acre park with meadows, forests, and wetlands has something for everyone. Once completed, Amerson was turned over to Macon-Bibb. If you’re interested in reserving space or hosting an event at Amerson River Park, please contact Macon-Bibb’s Parks and Beautification.

Other parks on the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail include: Jackson Spring Park, Dr. William G. Lee Camellia Gardens, Spring Street Park, Otis Redding Memorial Bridge, the Charles H. Jones Gateway Park, the Rotary Park, and Riverside Cemetery.