The Georgia Virtue Business Spotlight Series features local businesses that function as the backbone of our communities. The series is sponsored by Bulloch Solutions.
Located in Bulloch County not far from the Bryan County line, Savage Trails is a ‘members only,’ family friendly off-road riding park conveniently located right off of I-16 and Highway 67.
The park is full of off-road trails that span across 430 acres, winding through some of Bulloch County’s most beautiful timberlands. On one side, the property backs up to WMA land and a hunting club stretches across the property on the other. The property is owned by Keith Dixon of Evans County who has long been scouting a place for recreation that also keeps the vehicles off the road for the better part of two years. The closest park of a similar nature is more than two hours away and has limited operating hours.
“I’ve been riding buggies for about five-and-a-half years. What really pushed me to do this is my son, who is 17 now. It’s something we enjoy doing together any time of the year.” Dixon said. “It’s a great thing – when you see a mom and dad on a buggy and their kids on a buggy right behind them…they can come out here and ride and they don’t have to worry.”
With active memberships already in place, ATV and buggy enthusiasts can take advantage of the rolling trails across the property while the remainder of the park is constructed. In the coming months, the Main Office will be erected and will have a part-time manager, a full-time maintenance employee, and will feature basic parts. Behind the office and adjacent to a planned bath house and wash rack will be a 50×100’ pavilion for parties, cookouts, and other gatherings. The site will have day parking and a shop for making repairs to buggies as well. The large area at the front of the park is lined on all sides with towering trees that will feature primitive camp sites along the front ends of the trails.
In early January, Bulloch County Commissioners approved a zoning application to allow Dixon to build the infrastructure for RV parking. Like the rest of the park, the 50-capacity spot will be limited to members who can keep an RV on site on a short-term basis, particularly for weekend visitors who want to stay on site. That application approval was accompanied by conditions placed on the property to ensure preservation of the lands. Additionally, the property lines are clearly marked and fencing installation is currently underway to keep off-roaders out of off-limit areas.
Throughout the property, wide trails wind through the trees, ponds, and swamp areas, with options for driving on dry land or wading through the mud. A pavilion with grills is also planned well inside the trail course, as is a recreational area with a beach spot for swimming, and in areas that had to be cleared for construction, newly planted trees will soon replace the bare landscape.
Members will have access to the trails, via gate and swipe card, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Full-size vehicles and dirt bikes are not permitted and the number of memberships will be limited. While the project is under construction, membership will be capped at 125. When Phase 1 is complete, hopefully in about eight months, Dixon said the cap will be 220.
“I want to keep this a family oriented place where people know other members, they know it’s safe,” he said. “But I don’t want it to ever get to the point where you can’t ride without running into people.”
Exceptions to the membership rule will be visitors using a pass with a member and the fundraisers that will be held at the park on an annual basis. Dixon said a handful of nonprofits have already made plans to host events at the park.
As is standard for many membership-based establishments, Savage Trails has a Board of Directors charged with overseeing the park, setting the rules, and governing possible violations. The 11-member board has representation from Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, and Evans counties. Dixon said it also offers more coverage of the property at any given time, ensuring safety, cleanliness, and comradery. The Board members are off-road enthusiasts themselves.
Besides, it has been a family affair since the get-go. Dixon’s children have been helping clear the land and plan the pathways, as have many of the teenage kids of the board members. When the trail directional signs are up, they’ll each have one in their honor.
Dixon shared his excitement about the completion of the project, both for avid riders and for what all it will bring to the area.
“I want this to be part of the community,” he said. “From the gas stations and stores who will see more traffic to the people who want to come out here and ride. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a place to enjoy the outdoors and be together.”
To learn more about Savage Trails or to inquire about memberships:
- follow them on Facebook
- contact them by email firstname.lastname@example.org
- reach them by phone 912.290.0379
- make plans to visit in person: 2240 Mill Branch Club Road, Pembroke GA
Read other Business Spotlight articles on The Georgia Virtue.