WASHINGTON, DC—Two Forest Service specialists and one volunteer are currently in the Republic of Georgia to share expertise on trails and recreation infrastructure with Georgian government counterparts and nongovernmental organization partners. Adam Barnett, recreation program manager, Red Rocks Ranger District, Coconino National Forest; Barth Hamberg, landscape architecture team leader, Tongass National Forest; and Bob Birkby, trails expert, trainer and volunteer traveler, are sharing expertise with local partners. Nature-based tourism has increased significantly in the Republic of Georgia in recent years, and partners in the country are interested in learning from the Forest Service’s experience as they expand recreation infrastructure throughout the country.
During the trip, the team is visiting a number of recreation sites with the goal of developing recommendations for future targeted site-specific interventions. The team is also conducting a two-day workshop on trail planning, design, building, and maintenance. The Forest Service’s recreation partners in Georgia include four government agencies: the Agency of Protected Areas, the National Forest Agency, Georgian National Tourism Agency and Tbilisi City Hall, as well as seven non-governmental organizations.
These activities are being funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Forest Service, in partnership with USAID, has engaged in technical cooperation on natural resource management issues in the Republic of Georgia since 2011.