View Full Version : Move Over, Ironman, There's a New Trail Calling

01-01-2017, 14:25
(Times Free Press, Chattanooga, TN, 12/28/16, by Pam Sohn)

Back in May 2006, a handful of trails enthusiasts were flirting with the idea of luring the makers of the Great Eastern Trail—a planned 10,000-mile alternative to the Appalachian Trail that may someday stretch from Florida to the Finger Lakes of New York and maybe west to North Dakota—through Chattanooga.

The newspaper wrote a story or two. Some readers rolled their eyes and muttered something to the effect that they would "believe-it-when-I-see it." And most of us promptly forgot it.

About a year later, Trust for Public Land's Rick Wood leaned over a huge table with a glass-covered map of the region and pointed to the color-coded dots that separated locally dreamed Chattanooga-specific finished trails and Tennessee Riverwalk areas from daydream paths.

Now some 10 years later, the daydreams are looking more real every day, and as Wood said then and probably at least a thousand times since: "So much of Chattanooga's story is about our geography and about embracing our mountains and the river. This is just another way of being able to be connect to that."

On Tuesday, we learned that the Chickamauga Dam and Cloudland Canyon near Rising Fawn, Ga., are just 2.9 miles of new trail away from being connected (http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2016/dec/27/new-trail-will-link-tennessee-riverwalk-cloud/404648/) for ambitious hikers and mountain bikers.

Is that super cool, or what?

By our rough calculation, that's moving on toward 40 miles of almost-non-stop trail.

And a big, big chunk of it goes right through the heart of Chattanooga—along our 13-mile (and counting) Tennessee Riverwalk, up Lookout Mountain by way of the Guild Trail to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park trails over Lookout Mountain, to the Lula Lake Land Trust trails and eventually to the Cloudland Canyon trail system.

Wow. Just wow!

In 2012, it became official. The Great Eastern Trail would make Chattanooga the largest city that a long-distance trail passes through.

Warren Devine, a Great Eastern Trail board member and an Oak Ridge volunteer for Tennessee's Cumberland Trail Conference since 1998, said at the time that the trail will build on Chattanooga's outdoor reputation as an outdoors mecca.

You bet it will. Imagine having a morning cup of coffee looking out on the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga, then bikepacking over Lookout Mountain to camp that night in Cloudland Canyon.

Bring on a brand new kind of Ironman—better still, Ironwoman—competition.

For now, Lula Lake Land Trust crews are planning to begin work in January on the Chattanooga Connector Trail that will link the land trust to Covenant College and provide the missing stretch in the network of trails between our Riverwalk and Cloudland Canyon, the popular Georgia state park. The $50,000 to $60,000 job is expected to be completed in July—probably about the same time a tiny missing piece is completed between South Broad Street and St. Elmo.


The trail is calling.:banana

Source: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/times/story/2016/dec/28/sohn-move-over-ironman-theres-new-trail-calli/404780/

Time Zone
01-01-2017, 19:49
Sounds great! How lucky are we to live here. But those maps aren't particularly illuminating. I suppose I'm spoiled by the clear, simplified/stylized ones for the Cumberland Trail segments that Don Deakins is credited with doing.

01-01-2017, 21:17
The new Lula Lake trail is still being built, cspan, so be patient about maps. The one in the news article is only a teaser. You're local, so keep your eye on the Lula Lake Land Trust website (https://lulalake.org/) or, better yet, its Facebook page. The Chattanooga Times Free Press has posted a follow-up video to its recent articles, which can be accessed from the Lula Lake website. Extending the Tennessee Riverwalk from downtown all the way through to Cloudland Canyon State Park is huge!

Sounds great! How lucky are we to live here. But those maps aren't particularly illuminating. I suppose I'm spoiled by the clear, simplified/stylized ones for the Cumberland Trail segments that Don Deakins is credited with doing.

01-01-2017, 22:31
I'm all for the commitment to connecting and constructing the GET. Want to brag on Chattanooga great have your fun but trails are already connecting to some major cities. For example, I'd say Denver on the Colorado Tr, Truckee/Tahoe/Carson City on the Tahoe Rim and Pacific Crest Trails, Bryson City on the Benton Mckaye Tr, several of the nearby cities AT spurs are connected to, towns on the Arizona Trail, several big ones on the Continental Divide Tr, several on the Long Path, BIG cities on both the American Discovery Tr and North Country Tr.........The world of hiking and trails goes FAR FAR beyond the Appalachian Trail and it's termini.

Man is widely understood without vacant sexist arguments to refer to the human species with no respect to gender or gender identity. This is why the Ironman Triathlon events have male and female division.

01-02-2017, 15:40
10,000 miles? I don't remember any WAA/ACT/GET concept like that, especially not as late as 2006. Sounds more like the total of SEFTC/MAFTC network. Nice article though.