Sure, Sandy Springs is known for its frenetic traffic and ever-sprouting development, but it is also heralded for its devotion to its environment.
For the 13th year – of the city’s 18 – Sandy Springs will be among the dozens of areas throughout the Chattahoochee River watershed engulfed by volunteers who want to keep the areas trash-free. On Saturday, March 25, the annual Sweep the Hooch trash cleanup day will be held at several areas in Sandy Springs: Morgan Falls Overlook Park, Powers Island and Island Ford Walking Site.
Last year, more than 2,300 volunteers collected nearly 60 tons of trash across the Chattahoochee. In partnership with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, volunteers will spread out at more than 50 sites. Volunteers can choose to be walkers, waders or paddlers, but they must register in advance because there’s a limit at each site.
Walkers are land-based volunteers who will pick up trash in and around the river. Wearing wading boots, waders will collect trash from shallow water areas and along the river banks. Paddlers may use kayaks, canoes or stand-up paddleboards and, according to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper website, will travel three to five miles while picking up litter. Individuals as well as teams of volunteers can sign up. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.)
Keeping river areas clean, however, is not the only example of how Sandy Springs residents show their appreciation for nature. Sandy Springs is one of several cities in the metro Atlanta area that encourage more greenery in residential areas.
Until the end of March planting season, homeowners can request to have up to three canopy trees planted in their yard, free. There is no application fee. The only requirements are for the resident to agree to water, care for, and maintain the trees planted in their yard, and they must be planted in the front yard. According to Trees Atlanta, in general, 10 gallons of water should be applied every other week during the tree’s first growing season which is April to October. “This encourages roots to expect infrequent but deep waterings…Watering should be focused where the roots are, which for one- to two-year-old trees is right around the base.”
Why canopy trees? They provide shade, notably cooling the temperature directly under a tree by 20 to 45 degrees. Canopy trees can come in many forms, but in this climate, the only trees available are tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).
Sandy Springs, along with the cities of Atlanta, Brookhaven, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody and unincorporated DeKalb County all require an application form to be filled out. Once a form has been submitted, a Trees Atlanta Coordinator will contact the applicant. Click HERE for the Trees Atlanta application.
As spring has sprung on Sandy Springs, residents who are brave enough to battle the pollen are probably ready to investigate the progress of the Sandy Springs Master Trail whose ground was officially broken in December. The 1.88 mile segment includes a scenic boardwalk across Orkin Lake, and will enhance access to the Chattahoochee River, connecting Morgan Falls Overlook Park to Roswell Road at Cimarron Parkway.
The city council adopted the Trail Master Plan in 2019. That plan identified 31.4 miles of proposed greenway trails, side paths, and neighborhood greenways, connecting to 12 schools, 15 parks, and several green spaces. The 10-year implementation plan includes seven miles of trails. The plan was developed along with the Sandy Springs Conservancy and the Path Foundation.
This is not an inexpensive venture. The city council approved a $7.8 million bid from GHC Corp. for the first segment. The council also accepted a $3 million grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to help fund the project, which reportedly will cover 38.5 percent of the trail’s construction cost.The plans called for the trail to be completed by the end of this year.