Chattanooga To Host National Leaders From Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, Adventure Cycling And America Walks

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chattanooga will host a series of planning and educational meetings from May 12-14,with Jim Sayer, executive director of the Adventure Cycling Assoc.; Marianne Fowler, senior vice-president of Federal Relations for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; and Katherine Kraft, coalition director for AmericaWalks. Meetings will focus on the recreational, health and economic benefits of bicycle tourism and on how to use rail-trails for tourism and recreation and as a means of connecting neighborhoods.

The meetings include two public events:

·       “On the Road and on the Trail.” Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River Street in Coolidge Park, 6 p.m., Monday, May 12. The public is invited to learn about Adventure Cycling, America Walks and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy—their organizations, missions and success stories—and about how cities like Chattanooga have become involved and benefited.  Free bicycle parking.

·       “Bicycle Tourism, Trail Development and Connectivity.” 10-11:30 a.m., Public Library Auditorium, 1001 Broad St., Chattanooga, Tn. 37402. Topics will include case studies demonstrating the considerable economic impact of bicycle tourism, insights on rail-trails nationwide, the positive impact of trails on neighborhood connectivity, and the significant economic benefits rail-trails such as the Silver Comet Connector brings to its trail towns.

“It’s rare that a city gets the chance to host even one of these experts,” said Philip Pugliese, director of Active Living and Transportation Network, which, along with Outdoor Chattanooga, is organizing the events. “This is a unique opportunity to tap the expertise of all three at the same time.”

While here, Mr. Sayer, Ms. Fowler and Ms. Kraft will meet with public and private sector officials working to promote Chattanooga as a regional hub for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, a developing national network of bicycle routes—currently at nearly 6,000 miles—that will link urban, suburban, and rural areas, and the Adventure Cycling Route Network, a network of more than 40,000 miles of rural and low-traffic bicycling routes through some of the most scenic and historically significant terrain in North America.

The group will also look at local opportunities to leverage existing railroad rights of way to expand the region’s greenway network, resulting in improved neighborhood connectivity and local and regional recreational and transportation opportunities. This includes a possible connection between Chattanooga and the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails, which run nearly 100 miles from Smyrna, Ga., outside Atlanta, to Anniston, Ala.

The three leaders are coming to Chattanooga at the invitation of local trails advocate Jim Johnson, whose company, BikeToursDirect, is underwriting the cost of their visit and is a leading corporate sponsor of Adventure Cycling.

“This is a unique opportunity for the community and our leaders to interact with leading experts in fields that could have such an impact on us for generations to come,” Mr. Johnson said.“Even looking at the Silver Comet alone, it attracts nearly 2 million people per year who spend about $57 million. The impact on Chattanooga’s tourism industry and the local economy could be huge. And overall, trails and improved connectivity make Chattanooga more attractive to residents and visitors.”

VIDEO: Paddlers At Chattajack

Paddlers were on the water early at Chattajack at Ross's Landing.  Chattajack is set apart from similar races by its length. Its distance calls for athletes who have committed to their training and to their pursuit of endurance. The course is one that requires preparation, but is always a fun, rewarding experience. Chattajack is comprised of a community of people who ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Parks Named 2016 Government Recycler Of The Year

Tennessee State Parks was named the 2016 Government Recycler of the Year at the Tennessee Recycling Coalition’s annual banquet on Oct. 17 in Oak Ridge. In 2015, Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of Sustainable Practices launched the “Go Green With Us” initiative. The program encourages park staff and visitors ... (click for more)

In Surprise Vote, Chattanooga City Council Turns Down Short Term Vacation Rentals

In a surprise vote, the City Council on Tuesday night turned down allowing a process to legalize short term vacation rentals in Chattanooga. Only Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell voted in favor. Opposed were Carol Berz, Yusuf Hakeem, Larry Grohn, Moses Freeman, Ken Smith and Russell Gilbert. Chris Anderson was absent. Afterward, Councilman Smith said, in light of the vote, ... (click for more)

Cold Case Unit Makes Arrest In Murders Of Brothers In Brainerd Almost 20 Years Ago; Detectives Say Brainerd Jeweler Rick Davis Tied To Incident

The Cold Case Unit set up by District Attorney Neal Pinkston has made an arrest in the murders of two brothers in Brainerd almost 20 years ago. The Hamilton County Grand Jury on Monday indicted 52-year-old Christopher Jeffre Johnson on two counts of first-degree murder in the January 1997 deaths of Sean and Donny Goetcheus. The 25-year-old Sean Goetcheus and his ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saving A Life & More

About 40 years ago I was at an afternoon football practice when one of those who was also watching from the fence was bitten by a bumble bee or yellow jacket or whatever it was and almost died from anaphylactic shock. Luckily an athletic trainer had an EpiPen, jammed it into the man’s thigh and it is believed to have saved the victim’s life. For years I kept an EpiPen on the top ... (click for more)