Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chattanooga To Be Named First Official Trail Town Of The Great Eastern Trail

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: Chattanooga To Be Named First Official Trail Town Of The Great Eastern Trail: Chattanooga will be named as the first official trail town of the Great Eastern Trail at a ceremony to be held at the Tennessee Riverpark’s Amnicola Marsh pavilion on Sunday, April 28, 2013, at 12:00 noon EDT. Representatives of the City of Chattanooga, including then Mayor Andy Berke, Hamilton County, and the Great Eastern Trail Association will participate. The public is also invited to attend.

The Great Eastern Trail (GET) is a new long-distance hiking trail comparable in many ways to the Appalachian Trail (AT). Its “trail town” designation is essentially the same as the AT’s “trail community” and can be expected to provide similar economic benefits. The GET has been created by linking together regional trail systems. It extends nearly 1,800 miles between Alabama’s Flagg Mountain and the North Country National Scenic Trail just south of New York’s Finger Lakes. About 72% of the GET is open to hiking. More information about the GET and the Great Eastern Trail Association is available at

Tom Johnson, president of the Great Eastern Trail Association, states. “The Great Eastern Trail passing directly through Chattanooga makes Chattanooga the largest city in the country by far to host a major long-distance trail.”

Until recently, the Chattanooga area was one of the few remaining major gaps existing between the regional trail systems that are components of the GET. That gap has now been closed through the efforts of a joint Great Eastern Trail Association (GETA) / Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC) committee chaired initially by Jim Schroeder of Murfreesboro, TN, and currently by Warren Devine of Oak Ridge, TN. Over the last couple of years, the GETA/CTC Chattanooga Committee has worked diligently in partnership with local, state and federal partners and interested citizens to identify and establish a trail connection between the Georgia Pinhoti Trail at the Tennessee-Georgia state line and the Cumberland Trail on Walden’s Ridge. The Cumberland Trail will serve as the GET’s path northward to the Tennessee-Kentucky line.

Joanna Swanson and Bart Houck whose trail names are “Someday” and “Hillbilly Bart,” are currently engaged in an effort to become the first persons to thru-hike the GET. Their hike through the Chattanooga area took place in early February 2013. They will interrupt their thru-hike to return to Chattanooga for this event and will present a program on thru-hiking the GET at Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River Street, at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 28, 2013. The public is invited to attend. Their progress on their thru-hike can be followed on the website

On Sunday, April 28, 2013, in addition to the “Trail Town” ceremony and the “Thru-Hike” program, there will be two guided walks along the Riverwalk. The walks will depart from the Tennessee Riverpark’s Amnicola Marsh pavilion at 1:00 p.m. immediately following the “Trail Town” ceremony and the public is invited to participate.

Also, on Saturday, April 27, 2013, there will be three opportunities for the public to participate that morning in guided hikes and walks along existing and planned segments of the GET’s route.

A complete schedule of the public activities, including the hikes, “Trail Town” ceremony and “Thru-Hike” program, that are part of the “Great Eastern Trail – Chattanooga Weekend” event can be viewed online at the Outdoor Chattanooga website: For questions about the schedule, the public may call the Outdoor Chattanooga office at 423-643-6888

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