If you are wanting to experience nature in many different ways, plan on taking a day trip to the North Oconee River Greenway and Heritage Trail. Charles Aguar also known as the 'father of the Greenway moved to Athens with his wife in the early 1970s. During that time he started to advocating for protecting and conserving the river of Athens. His idea was to create recreational amenities for citizens to enjoy.
Back in the early '70s Charles Aguar and his wife was saddened at the sight they seen. North Oconee was a dumping ground and seeing the pollution travel down the river just saddened them both to the point Charles stated advocating of a greener way. In November 1999, he was able to see the ground breaking of the Greenway project but died in 2000 before he could see the completed project. Part of the trail was designated in his honor: Charles Aguar's Memorial Plaza. It is located on Willow Street between East Broad and North Avenue.
Today the 700 acres of greenspace is a combination of elements of conservation, transportation, recreation and educational trail, paths and parks. Along the trail you will see how the town grew up alongside the river and how the people of the township became reliable in the industry. There are many markers about the Cook and Brother Armory/Chicopee Mill, the Athens Railroad and how Athens was developed over the years.
As you are walking along the path, you will see wildlife in its natural habitat and also be able to enjoy a very nice family outing. There are picnic tables, grills and benches along the way to enjoy. You are allowed to bring your dog on this trail but it must remain on a leash. The trail is opened sunrise to sunset.
On Heritage Trail you will see the trail illustrates Athens rich history. As you reach Dudley Park which is a 12 acre natural resource park that features majestic hardwoods, open fields and some picnic tables, grills and benches so you can stop, relax and enjoy the view.