The Lula Lake Land Trust, with COVID-19 shutting down its fundraisers, opted to build a new trail during the down time.
With the help of many trail volunteers and donors, a large portion of a planned new five-mile trail has been completed.
It begins at the 5 Points trailhead.
Matthew Hubbard, development director, said, "Last year, the day-to-day life changed for many, and Lula Lake was no exception. We were faced with difficult decisions and strived to maintain a positive attitude.
After canceling all fundraisers, the staff began looking at ways to raise funds for our trail-building initiatives. Through a video staff meeting during the early months of 2020, an idea was born on how to make our efforts count. We knew adventures were waiting for the world to return to normal, and we want to be there for our community when it does.
"And so, we got our hands dirty and began building new trails. Our plan was to start development on a new, 5-mile trail for daily public use that connects to 5 Points mountain biking area at our Durham property (map below). We reached out to our community partners and received grants from the Riverview Foundation, REI Co-op, and Chattanooga Hiking Club. Then we began an online campaign and asked the community to consider $15 for 15-foot of new trail work. Through this incredible out-pouring of support and a donation of a Ditch Witch SK machine from Jarret Kinder and Susan Williams, we set to work.
"But building new trails isn’t an easy task! It takes countless hours, blood, and sweat just to clear 15 feet. Our staff worked relentlessly on trails, and volunteers poured in to assist. A total of 430+ hours by 125+ volunteers were devoted to trail-building. Key groups included McCallie CLC Youth Program of 30+ kids aged 13-18, SORBA Chattanooga, Southeast Conservation Corps (SECC), and our loyal Lula Lake volunteers. Their hard work made a difference, and foot by foot we made progress.
As of today - one year since launching our $15 for 15-foot of trail work - we have completed 3.5 miles of new trail and raised $8,745 from individual donors. Our staff here at Lula Lake is deeply grateful for not only the support but also the love for what we do. They allow us to do what we do best.
"Now we have plans to build 12 miles of new trail.
"It moves me to see how much Lula Lake is loved, and I cherish every day I get to be part of such a wonderful organization where dreams and adventures can and do became realities. Between the pandemic and Lula Lake’s mission, I often think of the last year in the terms of “aftermath,” which can be defined as either the consequences of a disastrous event or new grass growing after a harvest. It is easy to let the first definition define what we do, to become focused on the bad we’ve faced. However, at Lula Lake I’m able to see our efforts flourishing - our new grass growing. We’re moving forward and continuing to grow.
"You can help us, too, by continuing to donate $15 for 15 feet of new trails. Donations can be made by clicking below or by mail to Lula Lake Land Trust, PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350."