Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga:

Winter Workshop Series Thursdays 6:00-7:30 p.m. 
Learn outdoor skills indoors with Outdoor Chattanooga's Winter Workshop Series. A series of classroom-based, outdoor education and skill building workshops that are free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. No reservations or experience required to attend. We started the series with a 2-part introduction to Wilderness First Aid on Jan. 18 and 25th (**Non-certification course**).

On February 1st, we tackle Fishing 101, then move on to bikepacking and bike maintenance 101, followed by learning how to navigate with a map and compass and how to plan and lead a day hike. Below is the schedule and descriptions for the remaining workshops in the series. Come for one, some or all. For more info email Outdoor Chattanooga or call 423-643-6888. All workshops occur on Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St. in Coolidge Park.

Fishing 101 - Feb. 1 
Take your knowledge of fishing beyond a worm and cane pole in this beginner's basic class taught by the fishing experts at Bass Pro Shops. This workshop will dive into the different types of lines and lures, how the seasons and weather can change your fishing experience, and the ethics of fishing. No experience necessary, just an interest in learning more about casting a line and a lure. 


Bikepacking 101 - Feb. 8 
Think backpacking via bicycle. Cover more ground, access more remote places and increase your adventure on two wheels than you can on two feet. Gaston Farmer, local outdoor recreation expert and athlete, will discuss two distinct styles of the sport, essential gear, equipment, packing list, how to pack, trip planning tips and resources. 

Bike Maintenance 101 - Feb. 15
Outdoor Chattanooga's bicycle guru, James Eubank, will lead participants through three different aspects of bicycle maintenance; fixing a flat tire and how to prevent flats, quick ways to clean and lube your bicycle with minimal equipment, and how to conquer the daunting task of tuning your rear derailleur. 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.

Navigate with Map & Compass - Feb. 22
We've become pretty dependent on smartphones for way finding, but what happens if the signal fails or the battery dies while you're out on the trail?  Learn the basics of how to navigate using the "old school" method of map and compass. Maps and compasses will be available to use in small groups during the workshop.

How to Plan & Lead a Day Hike - March 1
Proper planning and preparation is necessary anytime you venture outdoors, especially if you're the one leading the way. Learn the elements of preparing for and leading a hike to ensure safety and enjoyment for all involved. From an essential gear list to info about area trails, you'll walk away with the knowledge and confidence to plan and lead a group hike.

Try Archery 
Wednesdays, Feb. 7, 14, 21 & 28th 3:30-6:00 p.m.
 
Take aim at Outdoor Chattanooga's "Try Archery" program every Wednesday in February from 3:30-6:00 p.m. Drop in any time during the open format sessions. No reservations or prior experience required to participate. This free program offers all ages and skill levels a hands on opportunity to learn more about the sport of archery. Concentrating on range safety rules and the fundamentals of archery, the open sessions follow the National Archery in Schools (NASP) format and procedures. All sessions are walk-in and recommended for ages 6+. All equipment and instruction provided. Cost: FREE. Just show up, take aim and give archery a try! For more information email Outdoor Chattanooga or call 423-643-6888.

More Outdoor Chattanooga Events

Community Events
 
In the Footsteps of Tragedy & Hope
Sunday, Feb. 4 - 2:00 p.m.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to participate in a 90-minute, 1.2 mile walking tour exploring lives of settlers, slaves, and Cherokee on Moccasin Bend. The program will take place along the Brown's Ferry Federal Road Trace on Moccasin Bend National Archeological District. For more information about this and upcoming programs with the Park, please contact the Lookout Mountain Visitor Center at 423-821-7786, the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at 706-866-9241, or visit the park's website.

Save Water, Drink Wine
Saturday, Feb. 10 - 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Help support a good cause while enjoying some good wines at the annual Save Water, Drink Wine fundraiser to benefit Caribbean-SEA. This festive event features regional and national wines, tapas, and desserts from Dish T' Pass all for your taste buds to enjoy. Mingle with the good people you meet and partner organizations, including the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance, the Tennessee Aquarium and take time to bid on a variety of gifts and goodies during the silent and live auctions. Purchase tickets online in advance for $45, or at the door for $50 per person. Wine for our water! Water for our wine! Cheers!

Harrison Bay Star Party
Saturday, Feb. 10 - 6:00-10:30 p.m.

Join the Barnard Astronomical Society for their February Harrison Bay Star Party! As always, they set up a variety of telescopes for your viewing pleasure to observe the gems of the Winter Sky. The star party starts at 6:00 pm and should last until 10:30  pm. In the event of cloudy/inclement weather, the program moves into the Rec Hall at 8:00 pm. This event is FREE and everyone is welcome!

Wildlife Photography Workshop
Saturday, Feb. 24 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center offers a Wildlife Photography Workshop that combines classroom learning with hands-on photography. This popular workshop, led by Tom and Pat Cory, focuses on the art and the technique of photographing wildlife. Handlers will position birds of prey from Reflection Riding in natural settings for participants to photograph. This workshop is perfect for anyone wanting to enhance their photography skills, from beginners to advanced photographers. A registration fee of $49-$55 (members and non-members respectively) includes all instruction, materials, snacks, admission, and much more. Participants should bring all photography equipment and dress for cool weather.

More Community Events

Try this Local Outdoor Adventure

According to the Legend:

If Punxsutawney Phil, the honorary and immortal groundhog from Philadelphia sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he doesn't see his shadow, there will be an early spring. This folklore isn't rooted in science, and has a dismal accuracy rating, but it's still fun to play along and give Phil his 15 minutes of fame each year. You can even watch it live stream at 7:25 a.m. on Friday, February 2nd if you're so inclined. That's how big of deal Phil and his weather predicting shadow have become! 

Groundhog Fun Facts: 

In 1886, Phil became America's official weather-forecasting groundhog. Groundhogs build elaborate burrows to live in underground and hibernate through the winter. Americans and Bill Murray, have popularized Groundhogs in both tradition and repetition. Groundhogs are also known as whistle pigs and land beavers. 

Wait, why are we talking about Groundhogs?
You may be asking yourself, is this really the outdoor adventure their recommending this month? Groundhog Day? Ha! Don't be silly. Although there is more to the trivial folklore than you might think. The date marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox; and even though many towns have their own version of the quirky tradition, Chattanooga hasn't followed suit. Atlanta is the closest in-person option. Also, as a general disclaimer, we aren't encouraging anyone go out and dig holes to try and find a groundhog to recreate this peculiar myth for themselves! 

According to Outdoor Chattanooga: 

All that to say this. The local outdoor adventure we're recommending you try this month is underground, where the groundhogs dwell, but not in the burrows they build, rather in one of the many caves that make up the unseen landscape of this region. Despite what Phil predicts on groundhog day, it's still pretty cold in Chattanooga in February and the thought of spending much time outside has little appeal. But cave temps stay a constant 55-60 degrees year round, making cave tours the perfect outdoor, albeit underground, adventure to try in February. 

Going Underground:
Disclaimer: Wild caves are fragile and dangerous. It requires specialized equipment and know how to access them. The inexperienced should not enter any cave without proper equipment and guidance because cave ecosystems are extremely fragile and beginner blunders can quickly become dangerous life threatening emergencies.  We 100% recommend using an established guide service for caving.  with that being said, here are our local recommendations for this month's underground adventure 

Raccoon Mountain Caverns - What makes it great? The closest cave to downtown Chattanooga, open year round and offering two distinctly different tour types - walking and wild - depending on your physical ability and preferred level of adventure. Walking tours offered daily with no reservation, wild tours required advance reservation and vary.

G3 Adventure Tours to Sitton's Cave or Pigeon Mountain Cave - What makes it great? They offer a variety of wild cave tours from 1-4 hours in length that vary in difficulty and distance covered. The tours are appropriate for beginners, but the caves are truly wild with no lights, walkways, or handrails. If you go, be ready for adventure and to get dirty. Pigeon Mountain Cave tours are offered year round. Sitton's Cave tours are select months of the year. All tours meet at Cloudland Canyon State Park and require advance reservation. Transportation, equipment and guides are provided with the tour fee. 

Cumberland Caverns - What makes it great? With more than 32 miles of caves and underground passageways, there's plenty of fun and adventure for everyone. They offer Daily Walking Tours & Adventure Trips, Overnight Adventure Trips, and even host world-class entertainment from 333 feet below. Start planning your Spelunk-Tacular Adventure with them.

The Lost Sea - What makes it great? They are open year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas offering tours that last 1 hour 15 mins and include an underground boat ride on America's largest underground lake. Enough said! 

Special Underground Event:
Go underground to explore The Trail Beneath the Trail with Lookout Mountain Conservancy (LMC) and the Rotaract Club of Chattanooga on Thursday, March 1st. You'll be supporting the Howard School Internship Program while exploring the cavern at Ruby Falls and enjoying food, fun, drinks and music! Cost: $40/person.

From our website: To learn more about wild cave exploration in the Chattanooga area, visit the National Speleological Society or the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. 

In the News

Lula Lake Land Trust is Hiring
Wanna work for Lula Lake Land Trust? They're hiring an Americorps VISTA position. Click Here for details and to apply. 

Looking Ahead...Upcoming Events

February
1         Winter Workshop: Fishing 101
3         Cumberland Trail Guided Hike Series
           Fly Fishing 101
           Sherwood Forest Trail Work Day
6         Rapid Learning Whitewater Kayak Session
7         Try Archery
8         Winter Workshop: Bikepacking 101
           No Fail February
9         Crappie Madness
10       Cloudland Canyon 50K & Half Marathon
           Terra Trail Half Marathon & Half-Half
           Fox by the Fire
           Firecraft: Wilderness Survival
           Identify TN Trees in Winter
           Truth About Snakes
           Save Water, Drink Wine
           Harrison Bay Star Party
14       Try Archery


Tennessee-Alabama Carcass Important Ban Announced As Vital To Prevent The Spread Of CWD

Poster Contest's 30th Year Highlights Unique Bog Habitats In Georgia

Deer Season Open Aug. 23-25 For Private Lands/Archery Only And Special Unit CWD Deer Hunt


As deer season approaches, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency remind hunters that it is illegal to import whole carcasses ... (click for more)

Teachers and students across the state are invited to explore Georgia’s wildlife and students’ artistic interests through the 30th annual Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest. The goal ... (click for more)

Tennessee’s statewide three-day archery private lands only/antlered only deer season will be held Aug. 23-25. In addition, newly-created muzzleloader/archery, antlered only hunt for the new Unit ... (click for more)


Outdoors

Tennessee-Alabama Carcass Important Ban Announced As Vital To Prevent The Spread Of CWD

As deer season approaches, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency remind hunters that it is illegal to import whole carcasses and certain body parts of any species of deer into either state. The import ban on deer in Alabama and Tennessee is part of a larger effort throughout the country to prevent the spread ... (click for more)

Poster Contest's 30th Year Highlights Unique Bog Habitats In Georgia

Teachers and students across the state are invited to explore Georgia’s wildlife and students’ artistic interests through the 30th annual Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest. The goal of this competition for grades K-five is to generate a greater knowledge and appreciation of Georgia’s diverse wildlife and their habitats. The initiative is sponsored by the Georgia Department ... (click for more)

Breaking News

CFC Interested In Having 3 Soccer Fields At 13 Acres Of Montague Park Available For Development; Montague Descendants Oppose Any Commercial Use

The city of Chattanooga is seeking Requests for Proposals for the development of 13 acres at Montague Park by E. 23rd Street. A pre-bid meeting was held at the site on Wednesday morning, and the proposals are due by Sept. 10. A city panel will review the proposals and make a recommendation. Tim Kelly, chairman and co-founder of the Chattanooga Football Club, confirmed that ... (click for more)

State Dismisses Manslaughter Charge Against Jadarius Knox; Anguished Mother Of Victim Says "He Didn't Have To Kill Him"

The District Attorney's Office on Thursday dismissed a voluntary manslaughter charge against Jadarius Knox, saying evidence in the case in which Dakota Biddle was killed showed a self defense theory could be found to be valid. Knox was original charged with criminal homicide in the May 2018 incident on Basswood Drive, but it was reduced to voluntary manslaughter at the Grand ... (click for more)

Opinion

Are There Too Many Hamilton County Schools?

Two recent articles reveal a great deal about the present state of local public education. Mixing and matching information and reading between the lines reveals even more. First, there is that loooonnnngg list of Top Hamilton County Schools Salaries 2019. That nearly incredible list covers only salaries from $70,000 and up, and includes 290 different individuals -- approaching ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Drum Major For Peace

There have been many Christmas Seasons when I have looked high and low for Christmas Cards that included the poem, “One Solitary Life.” I came across the revered poem easily over 40 years ago during a kiddie matinee at the famed Radio City Music Hall, which is in midtown Manhattan. The Radio Music Hall is huge – it can comfortably seat 6,000 – and so awesome is the Christmas Spectacular ... (click for more)