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Friday, August 13, 2010

New mountain biking and hiking trails in NE TN

Good news for mountain bikers in the area. Talking with the Forest Service trail tech. for the Cherokee National Forest southern region I found that there is trail construction at the Pinnacle Fire Tower on Buffalo Mountain and the construction company is moving toward the base trail head at Unicoi, TN. This will give bikers an up and back trail which I would consider a tough five mile ride. This connects with a trail to the other side of the mountain which is shared with ATV'ers and was the site of last week's Buffalo Mountain Time Trials.

A future trail from Buffalo Mountain City Park in Johnson City to the Pinnacle Fire Tower is being considered. This new multi-use trail would separate hikers and bikers from the ATV users for safety by using alternative contours. At approximately 15 miles this would provide a very close proximity to the 10.5 mile Tweetsie rail-to trail project which will connect Johnson City and Elizabethton. Although in its early planning stages the Bike Walk TN director meeting with the Forest Service representative was very positive and centered on inter connectivity of trails and management by user groups.

The Methodist Christian Camp on Buffalo Mountain is offering part of its 600 acres for a new biking network that will adjoin the Camp. Design and marking will be done by the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Biking(NTMBA).

At Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport there is planned trail work to extend its already extensive mountain biking network. NTMBA is the major player in best practices trail design and construction.

NTMBA is encouraging its members to be aware of and attend the Pro Bike Pro Walk Conference in Chattanooga and will be part of our (in formation) Bicycle Coalition of NE TN.

Bike Walk TN is strongly supportive of effort both publicly and private to provide safe accessible venues for biking and walking in Tennessee. Whether for road or mountain cyclists, hikers in the mountains, or pedestrians just crossing the street we look for ways to improve the world in which we live.

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