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New trail opens at Raccoon Mountain

Recreation facility improvements

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New operating policy may benefit sportfish

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Marina owners on Fontana join forces for clean water

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TVA River Neighbors
April 2006

 

New trail opens at Raccoon Mountain

There’s a new place on Raccoon Mountain for hikers and mountain-bikers to enjoy the outdoors. The East Rim Trail includes the first two miles of what will eventually be a 10-mile path encircling TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Reservoir near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

image of bike trail“The East Rim Trail is perfect for beginning mountain-bikers and for casual hiking,” says Sabrina Kuykendall, a TVA recreation representative. “It’s a beautiful area and provides a moderate workout.”

TVA conducted an Environmental Assessment to make sure a trail could be created in a way that would protect the environment. Biologists, archaeologists, recreation specialists, and others evaluated the potential impact on the area.

“We found that it’s an excellent location,” Kuykendall says, “and we’ve worked in partnership with SORBA, the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, to make the project happen.” SORBA staff and volunteers work to promote land access, trail preservation, and new trail development in the Southeast.

SORBA recruited the International Mountain Biking Association’s Trail Care Crew, which provided training for the many volunteers who are helping build the trail. “Training is essential because you must follow environmental regulations and use the proper tools,” Kuykendall explains. “For example, there are specific ways to cut into the land to prevent erosion.”

Other partners include the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program; Outdoor Chattanooga; and Bikes Belong. They have helped provide funding and coordinate logistics.

Kuykendall visits the trail every two weeks to monitor progress on the remaining eight miles. “TVA is always looking for new ways to make Valley reservoirs accessible and enjoyable to outdoor enthusiasts,” she says. “Everyone involved in this project understands that we have to protect the environment while doing that.”

To visit the trail, take the Browns Ferry exit off of I-24 and follow the signs to Raccoon Mountain. If you’re interested in volunteering or want more information on the trail-building project, contact Greg Laudeman, SORBA-Chattanooga Advocacy Director, at 423-867-7687.

While you’re at Raccoon Mountain, be sure to stop by TVA’s visitor center and see exhibits on how the pumped-storage plant inside the mountain operates.

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