Firefly Trail

Building Our Trail, Connecting Our Communities

THE PITCH

Wouldn’t it be great if you could hop on your bike in Athens and ride for miles without having to worry about traffic? We think so, too. That’s why we’re stoked about The Firefly Trail, a developing greenway in our own backyard. More than just a trail, Firefly is connecting communities in North Georgia by providing residents with an outlet for safe, healthy, and eco-friendly recreation. But that’s not all. Trails like Firefly have proven successful when it comes to stimulating local economies by enhancing vitality and opportunities for commercial development and tourism.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t know about the Firefly Trail. This lack of awareness and financial support makes it challenging for the trail reach its full potential. Here at Team Firefly, we address these issues and offer a simple solution: rebranding.

To do this, we’ve taken advantage of new media resources to create a new and improved website, social media strategy, e-newsletter, and crowdfunding campaign, all with the hope of building a brand that gets the word out in our community and gains financial support for the trail.

THE PATH

The Firefly Trail is a proposed 39-mile multi-use trail beginning in Downtown Athens, Georgia which follows the Athens Branch of the Georgia Railroad and connects Athens-Clarke, Greene, and Oglethorpe County by means of a walkable, bikeable pathway and green spaces before coming to an end in Union Point, Georgia.

Near the proposed trailhead in downtown Athens, Georgia

THE PROBLEM

As of now, the Firefly Trail is struggling to generate buzz in the community — something that’s crucial for its future existence. That’s where we come in. We’ve partnered with The Firefly Trail Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of community representatives, with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness for the trail. Together, we’re dedicated to making the dream of the Firefly Trail a reality.

THE PLAN

Since our main goal is to establish a brand for the trail, rather than focusing on any single technology, we believe our client will benefit most from a multidimensional approach.

To start, we’re transferring content from their current site to a responsive, mobile-first platform that transforms a simple list of facts about the trail into a compelling, interactive narrative.

Our social media strategy includes a revamped e-newsletter, complete with the unified visual aesthetic we’ve created for the Firefly Trail and have already implemented on the new website. Additionally, we’ve developed an integrated social campaign to raise awareness on Facebook and Instagram. Creating a strong media presence across multiple platforms is crucial for us to effectively accomplish our goals and meet the client’s needs.

Lastly, seeing as rails-to-trails projects are largely built by, and for communities, we’re exploring a crowdfunding campaign via CommunityFunded.com. This approach would connect the local community with our trail in order to raise financial support for future developments.

THE POTENTIAL

The Firefly Trail is one of many new and emerging rails-to-trails projects nationwide. These trails come with a long list of pros — more transportation options, positive effects on public health, environmental conservation, historic preservation, and a stronger sense of community identity — and no real cons to speak of, with the exception of cost. Our group’s primary objective is to give Firefly something worthwhile and, hopefully, help give back to our community in the process.

Proposed bridge over Oconee River included in trail plans

THE PEOPLE

Nathan Bohannon: Project Manager

Grace Ferzely: Social Media Director

Rachel Kopp: Content Director / Copywriter

Jackson Moore-Ragusin: Tech Director / Programmer

Rachel Wu: Art Director

Thank you for taking interest in our project. Please join us at the annual NMIX Slam event on December 4th, 2015 or check out our website at http://fireflydemo.mynmi.net.