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.
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
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.
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
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