The Times-Free Press had a good article posted up on Christmas day about the work being done here in Chattanooga, Tennessee to help secure Stringer’s Ridge as an urban forest and recreational area for public use. The land, a prime 92-acre tract located downtown right behind the new Two North Shore Rock/Creek location, has been up for sale for some time. Developers once proposed a dense residential development that would have chopped the top of the ridge off and destroyed much of the canopy. Public outrage led the developer to abandon that plan, and now the Trust for Public Land (TPL) has been working with the owner, Jimmy Hudson, to acquire the land for public use. TPL has secured $1.9 million for the project, but they need $2.5 million to make the purchase happen. Some plots of land could still be sold to cover the shortfall if necessary.
The T-FP article talked about how the Wilderness Trail Running Association (The Boonies) and the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) have already talked to TPL’s Rick Wood about what to do with the property. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Ultimately, [SORBA] envisions about seven miles of bike trails on the ridge, [Jeffrey Schaarschmidt] said. As for sharing the trails with runners, he said he did not see any difficulties.
Randy Whorton, president of the Wilderness Trail Runners Association, said the groups have started a “single-track alliance” based on the fact that many trails in the area are shared between hikers, bikers and trail runners. He said he could envision a system of trails along the ridge where both bikers and runners could share walkways, while other trails could be individualized for the two groups’ needs.
“I think it’s going to come out well,” he said. “It has to. This is an opportunity to have wilderness right in our downtown.”
Larry Zehnder, the city’s Parks and Recreation administrator, said Stringer’s Ridge offers a prime opportunity because it could offer hiking opportunities to visitors staying in downtown Chattanooga.
“In this case, they could easily take an afternoon walking along the ridge,” he said. [See full article online]
If you’d like to make a pledge to the project today, visit the TPL page for Stringer’s Ridge >
Photo courtesy Trust for Public Land.