Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga:

Each month, Outdoor Chattanooga recommends an outdoor adventure unique to the Chattanooga area. This month, February 2017, is all about old school navigation with a map and compass, also known as orienteering. Here's what you need to know to shake off those technology-driven winter blues and give this month's brain-teasing outdoor activity a try.

What is Orienteering?
Orienteering is internationally recognized as a competitive sport that combines racing with navigation.

Traditionally, races are timed while individual participants use a specially created, highly detailed map to select routes and navigate through diverse and often unfamiliar terrain to locate control points. Courses can range from beginner to expert level and be as simple as a walk in the woods or large scale competitions involving canoes, mountain bikes, and/or horses. The orienteering we're going to highlight is foot orienteering, which means you simply walk (or if you're more competitive, run) from point to point. Once you reach a point, you mark it on your card and proceed to the next point.  We hope this encourages you to get outside, explore and have an adventure with only a map and compass in hand. 

Where Can I Orienteer?
Currently, there are 4 locations within an hours drive of Chattanooga that have orienteering courses set up for anyone to use. We sent our awesome intern Sara out to field test the course at Harrison Bay State Park, which is only 30 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. Here's what she learned:

Camp Store
Harrison Bay State Park's orienteering course was created by local Life Scout, Joshua Bowers. The course is open year round from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the park provides all the equipment. It's free, open to the public and great for beginners. The course begins at the camp store, which is an A-frame building. This is also where you pick up all of your gear. In the off season (winter), the park store is closed, but you can call a ranger at the number posted on the door (make sure to call a ranger and not the park office) and someone will come give you the materials. You'll receive a map, instruction booklet, and compass. 

Harrison Bay's course has 12 points to locate, which are called control markers. If you want to go by official orienteering rules, you will need to bring an index card or piece of paper to use as your control card, which is where you write down the two letters on the back of each control marker to prove that you have found it. Be sure to read all of the instructions before setting out: the booklet may seem long, but all of the information is important. Also, make sure you receive and use an orienteering compass, as a cell phone compass will not work for this activity. 

Other locations with orienteering courses near Chattanooga:
Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center (call ahead to reserve, fee charged)
Gee Creek Campground at Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park (free, open year round)
Red Top Mountain State Park (fee charged, open year round)

Who Can do this?
The instructions provided are simple and guide you through the entire orienteering process, so anyone should be able to navigate themselves from point to point. The first three control markers are fairly easy to find and get to, so there is opportunity to get used to the methods, but be sure to pay attention to the contour lines on your map, as some markers require climbing hills and trekking through woods. The course can easily be changed to fit your needs. If you want a shorter or easier course, you can skip control markers that are far or difficult to get to. If you want to visit all 12 control markers and do the full course, be prepared to spend several hours on this adventure. Harrison Bay has about 12 maps and a small group wishing to stay together could easily navigate with one map. Or you can check out multiple maps and make it a competition. 

Why Should Try This?
With smartphones, GPS, and computers readily available, it's rarely necessary for anyone to use a map and compass anymore. Which makes it all the more impressive if you can. Plus, cell phones lose service, batteries die, and Google Maps doesn't work all that well in the middle of the woods. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, being able to navigate without the use of modern technology is a valuable skill to have. Nervous about going out on your own and trying to learn to work a compass and read a map on the spot? Attend Outdoor Chattanooga's free Navigate with Map and Compass winter workshop on Thursday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. to learn the basics before you test your skills in the wild.

Have you experienced this local adventure? Got suggestions for next month's local outdoor adventure? We'd love to hear about it! Share your stories and pictures with us at info@outdoorchattanooga.com 

Outdoor Chattanooga Events

Try Archery Every Wednesday February 1-March 8

Take aim at Outdoor Chattanooga's "Try Archery" class. This free indoor class offers a hands on opportunity to learn about the sport of archery. The class is taught using the National Archery in Schools NASP equipment and procedures, with a concentration on range safety, rules and the fundamentals of archery. All sessions are walk-in, open to ages 6 and up. No reservation or prior experience required. All equipment provided. Cost: free. Just show up, take aim and give archery a try! For questions or more information call Outdoor Chattanooga at (423) 643-6888.

Outdoor Chattanooga's 2017 Winter Workshop Series
Classroom Based Outdoor Education
Free ~ All Ages Welcome
Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 PM
Outdoor Chattanooga in Coolidge Park
200 River Street, Chattanooga, TN 37405
Call 423-643-6888 or email Outdoor Chattanooga for more information.

Critter Encounters: Backyard to Backwoods February 2

In honor of Groundhog Day, Outdoor Chattanooga and Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center offer an outdoor ethics workshop related to critters on the trail. Get close to several rescued forest animals to gain a greater understanding of these creatures and learn more on how to prevent problematic and dangerous encounters while visiting the forest to hike or camp. Being good stewards starts with understanding these essential prevention techniques to properly critter proof your campsite including how to hang a bear bag. The workshop is suitable for all ages. No reservations required. Cost: Free. Instructors: Terri Chapin is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and Program Coordinator for Outdoor Chattanooga, and Corey Hagen is Director of Education/Director of Wildlife Management at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center

Navigate with Map and Compass February 9

We've become pretty dependent on smartphones for way finding, but what happens if the signal fails or the battery quits while you're out on the trail? Learn the basics of navigating using the "old school" map and compass. Maps and compasses are available for class. Cost: Free. Instructor: Jim Farmer, local orienteering expert, along with Zach Bopp, Recreation Specialist with Outdoor Chattanooga.

Bike Maintenance 101 February 16

Outdoor Chattanooga's bicycle guru, James Eubank, will lead participants through three different aspects of bicycle maintenance; fixing a flat tire, how to prevent future flats, quick ways to clean and lube your bicycle with minimal equipment, and how to tune your rear derailleur with ease. Participants can choose one or all three skills to learn. No previous bike knowledge is required, tools will be provided and questions will be encouraged. Hands and clothing might get dirty/greasy. Bring your bike for demonstration or use one of ours. No registration is required. Cost: Free. Instructor: James Eubank is a Certified League Cycling Instructor for League of American Bicyclists and Recreation Specialist for Outdoor Chattanooga.  

How to Poop in the Woods February 23

At one point or another, knowing how to poop in the woods will come in handy. All too often "Charmin" blooms are viewed along the trail indicating that people do not know how to go properly in the outdoors. This class explains the Leave No Trace researched principles as best practices for waste disposal. All ages are welcome to come learn one of the most fundamental parts of being a good backcountry traveler; how to answer nature's call -while in nature. No reservation required. Cost: Free. Instructor: Terri Chapin is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and Program Coordinator for Outdoor Chattanooga.

Rapid Learning Kayak Skills Program February 7
Outdoor Chattanooga's Rapid Learning Kayak Skills Program will continue through the winter months at the Hulsey Wellness Center at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN. The next session is Tues., Feb. 7 from 7-9 p.m. There's a $2 pool use fee for participants, so be sure to bring cash to get in. Use our equipment or bring your own. Boats can be dropped off behind the building, but everyone must enter through the main entrance. For more info email Outdoor Chattanooga or call (423) 643-6888.

More Outdoor Chattanooga Events

Community Events

Save Water Drink Wine February 11
Join the Gear Closet and Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance at the Barn Nursery for their annual Save Water Drink Wine event on Saturday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m. to raise money and awareness to protect the watersheds here in Chattanooga! There will be silent and live auction items, along with yummy wines and tapas for consuming all while supporting a good cause.

Fall Creek Falls State Park Winter Waterfall Tour February 17-19
Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath and Ranger Cara Alexander on a three-day, two-night exploration of some of our region's most beautiful waterfalls. 
This outdoor adventure features the waterfalls at Fall Creek Falls State Park and the spectacular beauty of Savage Gulf, Suter Falls and the Fiery Gizzard Trail. Focusing on the beauty and history of these majestic falls, the tours also include educational and interpretive programs unique to each location.
Friday, February 17 through Sunday, February 19
$269 per person including all taxes and gratuities-package pricing based on double occupancy
Also included are meals, lodging and transportation to the various destinations
Please call Connie or Monica to reserve your spot today at 800-250-8610.

Outdoor Ambassador Registration Session February 21

The City of Chattanooga's Office of Multicultural Affairs and Outdoor Chattanooga are partnering with the Cherokee Sierra Club to create a movement to bring more cultural and racial diversity to the area's outdoor scene. Outdoor Ambassadors help bridge the "adventure-gap" and connect culturally diverse communities with outdoor recreation opportunities in Chattanooga. For more information or to enroll, contact Terri Chapin by email or call (423) 643-6888.

Community News

Lula Lake Job Announcement: Hiring Now
Lula Lake Land Trust is hiring an Americorps VISTA member to serve as the land trust's Environmental Education and Volunteer Programming Coordinator, starting in April of 2017. This is an excellent fit for a recent or soon-to-be college graduate, someone looking to switch careers, or anyone interested in environmental education, conservation science, volunteer recruitment and management. Applicants must apply through the Americorps website. For more information or questions email Lula Lake or call 706-639-3099.

Raccoon Mountain Trail Closure
Beginning Thursday, February 2nd TVA is closing a portion of the Megawatt trail on Raccoon Mountain to perform necessary tree cutting behind the visitor's center. This section of trail will be closed every Thursday 6:00 p.m. through Monday 8:00 a.m. during the month of February. Barricades and signage will be present at each entry point. Please avoid entering this section of trail for your safety. A detour can be accessed via the roadway and re-entry at Six Flags trail prior to dam crossing.

Upcoming Events

1        Try Archery
2        Winter Workshop: Critter Encounters 
4        Lula Lake Open Gate Day
6        Crappie University
7        Rapid Learning Kayak Roll Class
8        Try Archery
9        Winter Workshop: Map & Compass
11      Wildlife Photography Workshop
         Snake Creek Gap Time Trials
         Save Water, Drink Wine
12      Chattanooga Crappie Club Fishing Tournament
13      Learn to Ride a Bike Class
15      Try Archery
         Volunteer Maintainer Training
16      Winter Workshop: Bike Maintenance 101
          SORBA Chattanooga Chapter Meeting
          Uncharted Lines Film Screening
17-19  February Winter Waterfall Tour
18      Savage Gulf Marathon
20      Bike Commuting 101
21      Outdoor Ambassador Registration Session
22      Try Archery
23      Winter Workshop: How to Poop in the Woods
25      Lula Lake Open Gate Day
         100K Tree Day

1        Try Archery
4        Lula Lake Open Gate Day
          Weed Wrangle
4-5     Chattanooga Marathon
7        Rapid Learning Kayak Roll Class
8        Try Archery
10      Paddling by Moonlight
11      Nature Calls 15K & 5K
13      Learn to Ride a Bike Class
18      Spring Big Six Waterfall Hike
19      Fall Creek Falls 50K and Half Marathon
20      Bike Commuting 101
20-24  YMCA Bold Gold Spring Break Ski Trip
         YMCA Bold Gold Girls Fishing Trip
24-26  March Spring Waterfall Tour
25      Lula Lake Open Gate Day
         Chattanooga Native American Festival
         Rock Creek River Gorge 10.2 mile Race
25-26  Chattanooga Native American Festival
31      IMBA Instruction Certification Course-Level 1

1         Wildflower Tram Tour
          Scenic City Trail Marathon
4         Rapid Learning Kayak Roll Class
6-10    YMCA Bold Gold Washington D.C. Trip
8         Running with Sasquatch 5K
8         Ocowassee Festival
10       Learn to Ride a Bike
15       Locomotion 12
17       Bike Commuting 101
21-23   Horton 100
          Joyful One Yoga Weekend Retreat
22       Chickamauga Chase Trail Race
22-23  Leave No Trace Trainer Class
28-30  Gee Creek Dual Sport Expedition

5-6     3 State 3 Mountain Challenge
6        Rabid Raccoon 25K
13      Chattanooga City Trail 30K & 10K
19      National Bike to Work Day
20      Thunder Rock 100 Mile Trail Race
21      Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga
28-28  Tennessee Spring Star Party

16-18  Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race

15     Chattanooga Hero's Run/Walk 5 Miles

5       Still Hollow Trail Race
21      Solar Eclipse 2017

16-21  Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee (BRAT)
24      Ironman Chattanooga
30      Stump Jump 50K

6-21    RiverRocks Chattanooga
21      Urban Nature 10K
28      Stone Fort Stomp 4.2 Miles

11      Upchuck 50K

2        Stillhouse 100K
17      Lookout Mountain 50 Miler, 21 Miler, 5K & 10K Trail Race

Kayak Tour From Chattanooga To Brown’s Ferry Set For Aug. 31

The public is invited to participate in a free, four-hour, kayak tour with a ranger on Friday, Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. National Park Partners and the Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga will sponsor an event where visitors will paddle down the Tennessee River, around the tip of Moccasin Bend, while learning about the much needed supply line to help lift the Confederate siege of Chattanooga. ... (click for more)

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park Seeks Volunteers For Annual National Public Lands Day On Saturday, Sept. 22

Join volunteers across the nation on Saturday, Sept. 22, taking part in the 25 th annual National Public Lands Day - the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States. This year the effort is being made to recognize NPLD events that highlight restoration and resilience. At Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, we will focus on a section ... (click for more)

Dallas Bay Baptist Church School Evacuated By Bomb Threat Tuesday Afternoon

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to a bomb threat at Dallas Bay Baptist Church School on Tuesday.  As a precaution, all staff and children were evacuated from the building. They were moved to a secure location off-site near the school.  An all clear was given several hours later. All students at this time of been accounted for and have been ... (click for more)

Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Family With Down Syndrome Child Who Sued County Schools

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a couple with a Down syndrome child who sued the county schools. The parents of Luka Hyde objected when the county schools tried to move him from his zoned school to a segregated school. The ruling says under federal law that students with disabilities are supposed to be placed in the least restrictive ... (click for more)

Thank You For Cleaning Up Brown's Tavern

Thank you to whomever is responsible for the massive clean-up project that began yesterday at Brown's Tavern in Lookout Valley.  It already looks 1,000 percent better. Ricky and T.J. Hendricks Smith  (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Person Every Hour

After the first weekend in August, the United States was shaken to its core as every major media outlet reported that 67 people had been shot in Chicago, 12 of them dead in the senseless carnage. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel pleaded for calm and announced an additional 600 police officers would join other law enforcement in the five most troubled districts. This past weekend, which ... (click for more)