August 29, 2022
One of the biggest problems facing our first responders or anyone dealing with an emergency
call in this “everybody uses a mobile phone era” is “where are you?” Delay in getting an
actionable answer to that question could result in a loss of life or a needless waste of valuable
resources. Thanks for some forward-looking individuals at Tallapoosa County 9-1-1 along with
other agencies; Tallapoosa County has implemented a system that greatly speeds determining
the location of a 911 mobile phone caller. The app for your phone is called “What3words” and
the software at the 911 center is called RapidSOS. These pieces of software combine to provide
the 911 center your location instantly. What the hiking and boating public needs to do is get
the app “What3words” installed on as many mobile phones as possible. The process is already
well underway for all first responders to have this app available so they can readily react to
your emergency call.
This new app, when opened, immediately shows you your location and provides a simple 3
word “tag” for your location. You can refine that location if needed by selecting another 10
foot square shown on the screen. The app using words instead of the usual GPS latitude and
longitude since it is easier to communicate via words instead of a string of 12 numbers and
dots. With a couple of simple clicks you can pull up Google maps and that will give you a way to
navigate to that location (if for instance someone gives you their location using the 3 words)
quickly. Also, it gives you standard latitude and longitude on the Google maps screen if you
need that information. Yes, there are already methods of accomplishing the same result
however it is much harder to explain to someone that is not ‘tech savvy’.
The first responders in our area recommend that everyone get this app installed on their phone
and become familiar with how the app works. It could save you a lot of time when you have a
reportable emergency on the lake or while hiking our many trails around Lake Martin.
Comments from Mike Eubanks, 9-1-1 GIS Coordinator:
Over the past few weeks, Tallapoosa County 9-1-1, along with the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office and
Alexander City Police Department have been in the process of implementing RapidSOS. RapidSOS is a
location and information portal provided free of charge to public safety dispatch centers.
One of the features included with RapidSOS is “what3words”. What3words is a platform that uses three
words instead of numbered coordinates for location. The creators of what3words have taken the entire
world and divided it into 10ft-by-10ft squares. Each square contains three words unique to that square.
When someone calls 9-1-1 from a cell phone, the dispatchers will be provided with not only address and
coordinate information, but the what3words location as well.
July 15, 2021
Update: Monday, November 15, 2021 – Alabama Power has repaired the portion of Goldmine Road that makes up beginning section of the John B. Scott trail. As promised, they fixed what they damaged with their heavy equipment and the trail is once again in good hiking condition.
Thursday, July 15, 2021 – We just want to make our hikers aware that we currently have an issue with mud on one section of the John Scott trail. Alabama Power is currently doing work on power lines that run through the Alabama Forever Wild property where our trails are located. The power company has been moving heavy equipment up and down the part of Gold Mine Road, which makes up the beginning part of our John Scott Trail, as it goes up the hill past Kudzu Bluff headed to the switchback that takes it along the lake. With a lot of heavy rain recently, the heavy equipment has made a mess out of the upper part of the road, where the trail turns left to go down to the lake shore. We currently have mud, tire trenches and standing mud puddles, which is an effort to walk around. They have also torn up the old Double Bridges road, which a lot of folks use as a shortcut to the railroad trail.
We apologize for the mess! We normally keep our trails very well maintained, but there is not much we can do about this until Alabama Power finishes their work. They have legal access and easement rights to use those roads. They have promised to repair the roads when finished. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
April 19, 2021
Participants from left to right: Mike Wilson, Mary Montoya, Lauren Little, Cam Martin, Michele Merrett, Bill Garnett, Walt Hutcheson, Julia Thomas, Steve Thomas, and Jimmy Lanier
Saturday, April 17, 2021 – CRATA board members and Friends of CRATA volunteers recently participated in a county wide trash pickup drive on a beautiful Saturday in Tallapoosa County. CRATA joined the trash drive that was sponsored by the Lake Martin Tourism Association. Since two of our trailheads are on or just off of Overlook Drive, we volunteered to pickup trash on the 4 mile length of this road.
A big thank you to all of the participants and to Brandy Hastings for coordinating the event. It was an enjoyable morning and very enjoyable fellowship with our CRATA supporters and volunteers! If you would like to volunteer for future projects and have not already filled out a volunteer form, please do complete a volunteer form, accessible near the bottom of the Home Page of this website.
March 23, 2021
Saturday, March 20, 2021 – A CRATA volunteer work crew spent a beautiful Saturday on the Jim Scott Deadening Trail replacing a set of worn out stairs. As some of you know, this trail is the most rugged and difficult trail in the CRATA trail system. This particular set of stairs is located on the side of a cliff overlooking Lake Martin. The location is difficult to get to and posed quite a challenge to get new building materials and tools to the worksite! Our volunteers hand carried boards, posts, beams and tools through dense woods and down a steep embankment, to get to the worksite, While some volunteers disassembled the old stairs and constructed the new set, others brought in the new lumber and hauled the old lumber back to the trucks.
The new stairs are now complete, except for a few finishing touches, and ready for trail traffic. Another set of stairs on this trail is scheduled to be replaced this month also. Materials for that project will have to be brought in by boat. CRATA is steadily working to replace aging structures, such as these stairs, to make sure our trails are safe and enjoyable for the public.
Volunteers on this project were Jimmy Lanier, Mike Wilson, Walt Hutcheson, Matt Campbell, Bill Garnett, Marie Kyser, Randall McClendon, Dana McClendon, Steve Thomas, Harold Banks, Clay Humphries, Don LeFever, Roger Wolczek and Tucker Ellis.
On the construction crew shown in the bottom photo are Don LeFever, Tucker Ellis, Jimmy Lanier, Clay Humphries, Roger Wolczek, Mike Wilson and Walt Hutcheson.
February 12, 2021
Thursday, February 25, 2021 – The Walker Bynum Tower Loop Trail has been re-opened. We have completed the construction of a new and much improved staircase on the trail that leads from the Smith Mountain parking lot to the fire lookout tower.
Friday, February 12, 2021 – The first half of the Walker Bynum Tower Loop Trail at Smith Mountain is closed shortly past the informational kiosk. The tall staircase going up the last part of the mountain is being replaced with a much stronger, safer structure. The tower can still be accessed by walking the service road up the mountain. The Lakeshore Trail access is reached by taking the dirt road to the right from the closure sign. The return trail from the Tower to the Parking Lot is still open if you would like a more scenic route back . The other hiking trails remain open and accessible at the top of Smith Mountain, from the tower area. We expect the building project to take up to 2 weeks to complete, depending on weather. We will update this post when the work is complete and the trail is open.