View Full Version : Update: Cumberland Trail Big Dig 2004

06-07-2004, 09:16
The Big Dig 2004 is still ongoing until June 26. Located just north of Chattanooga, TN, if you have some time to spend building trail, the Cumberland Trail Conference will house, feed & entertain you.

Here's an article from todays Chattanooga Times Free Press. Matt Kirk aka Sweeper (GA-ME 2001) is one of the paid part-time staff members. He's also the bass player in the Rock Creek Ramblers, the bluegrass band that has formed at the camp, and performs nightly.

Here's the article;

Matt Kirk, mattock in hand in the woods near Soddy-Daisy, worked shoulder-to-shoulder with about 30 volunteers last week to construct a new portion of Tennesseeís 53rd state park ó the 300-mile-long Cumberland Trail.
Mr. Kirk, a Cumberland Trail Conference staff member and Big Dig crew leader, said the local 30-mile section ó running through the Rock, Possum, and Soddy creek gorges ó was dedicated Saturday and eventually will be part of the larger trail. Currently 140 miles of the trail work is complete.
"Anybody who loves nature or loves their state of Tennessee should come out here," Mr. Kirk said.
The Cumberland Trail begins in Cumberland Gap National Park in Kentucky and follows ridges and gorges along the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau. The trail comes to an end in the Signal Point National Historic Park and Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area just outside Chattanooga.
The local trail-building effort is part of whatís known as the second Big Dig, a six-week volunteer program that began this year on May 16 and ends June 26. The Big Dig "gives people a chance to come out and be a part of history," Mr. Kirk said. The trail "will inspire future generations to come."
The Cumberland Trail Conference, a nonprofit organization formed in 1997 to build and manage the trail, began construction on the section in northern Hamilton County in the fall of 2002. About 18 miles of the local trail piece has been completed thus far.
Mark Stanfill, trail development and maintenance coordinator, said he hoped to see five more miles completed in Hamilton County by the end of June, and conference members hope to have the entire trail completed by 2008. The group, with about 600 volunteers, has raised between $2 million and $3 million to supplement about $18 million available from state and federal sources.
On Wednesday last week, almost 30 volunteers were worked on the trail near Possum Gorge. Some were affiliated with AmeriCorps though others, like Dennis Christian, were there independently.
Mr. Christian, a retiree from Nashville, said volunteering for the Big Dig has given him a way to "meet people from all over the country," and is "a real economical way to take a vacation." He said it also is a great way to stay fit.
Seth Webster, a Sparta, Tenn., resident and an assistant Big Dig coordinator, said the Cumberland Trail "is like my back yard. Itís not just building a trail. Itís tapping into the cultural heritage."
Once completed it will be about 303 miles long. About 140 miles of trail are open for use.
The trail begins in the Cumberland Gap National Park in Kentucky and ends in Signal Point National Historic Park and Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area just north of Chattanooga.
The trail is expected to be completed by 2008.

06-07-2004, 11:43

Thanks for the update on this years "BIG DIG."
i look foward to hiking the almost 300 miles of trails thru the beautiful hills, mountains, & gorges that surely will be some of Tennessee's finest hiking! :D

06-07-2004, 23:25
one of the first sections out of Signal Mtn, a thirteen mile section, is purportedly impossible to due in a single day...maybe a few here would like to disprove the CTC guide:

Tennessee River Gorge Segment:
Length: 13 miles; rating, difficult
"......Two primitive campsites are located on the first 11 miles of the trail, and camping is permitted only at these sites. It is possible for backpackers to enjoy a one-way trip, stopping overnight at one of the campsites, if the backpackers arrange for someone to drop them off, or to meet them, at one of the parking areas. The National Park Service recently closed the Signal Point Parking area after 10pm, and vehicles will be impounded if left after 10pm. Fortunately, overnight parking at the trailhead in Prentice Cooper is permitted. It is difficult, if not impossible, to hike the 11 miles in one day because the trail crosses several rock fields. "