Updates about trail expansions, new features given at State of the Trail Meeting
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Bike, trail and outdoor enthusiasts got to hear about some new expansions and features that are going on at local bike parks and trails at the State of the Trail meeting held at Trek Bicycle Store in Johnson City on Thursday.

Presenters gave updates about 5 different trail systems, including:

Abraham McIntyre, community trail advocate, says discussions are underway with the city of Johnson City, and land owners for a new Rotary bicycle playground in the lower level of the Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park.

“That’s one of the dreams that we had when we first started this six, seven years ago, was that we would build the bigger trails up here in the top and then have more skills progression and skills building development down on the bottom with green trails,” McIntyre said.

The bicycle playground was originally going to be located on the corner of Legion Street and State of Franklin Road.

Tannery Knobs also has recently expanded with three new trails.

One is a climb trail, that is up from Tannery Drive.

“That’s a climb up like a green, blue, climb-up instead of having to come up the road,” McIntyre said. “There’s also another descent trail off this front slope of the south-facing slope that’s more of a downhill. It’s a blue trail. Very exciting. That’s a way to kind of finish your ride off on a downhill. And then there’s a hand-cut trail out off of Hub-C. It’s more of a traditional single-track trail.”

Tannery Knobs has green trails for beginners which are the easiest to ride, blue trails for intermediate which is more difficult, and black trails which are the most difficult to ride there.

Joseph Wiggington, President of the Friends of O’Brien Watershed, said the Unaka Bike Park would like to expand to add technical black-level-skilled bike trails. They currently only have green and blue trails.

“We’re really proud of our downhill trails,” Wiggington said. “We’ve got a lot of jumps, a lot of opportunities to get in the air. We found that the hard-nosed mountain bikers really like those. We’re trying to build more of those. But at the same time, we want to build more shared-use trails. We want to eventually build to the top of the mountain where we can get trail runners, hikers and bikers to the top of the mountain.”

Wiggington said they’re currently still seeking funding for expansion.

Every presenter talked about some type of future expansion that they hope to have at their trails.

Expansions of Doe Mountain and the Tweetsie Trail expansion into Jonesborough also need funding.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) just granted $6.3 million to fund expansions of the Hampton Watershed Trails and the Tweetsie trail expansion into Hampton.

The Hampton Watershed expansion includes a new pump track, that has already been conceptually designed.

Wesley Bradley, liaison for Hampton Watershed Trails and the Tweetsie Trail expansion, said the magical thing about this expansion means two bike parks will ultimately be connected.

“We got Tannery Knobs on the Johnson City end, then we got the Hampton Watershed on the Hampton end that will connect us,” Wesley said. “It’ll be our first ever, a trail project where we literally have a main artery being a greenway connection that connects to two really world-class bike parks that’s local to our area.”

Wesley said this will help grow tourism and the local economy through outdoor recreation.

“Tannery has about three to 400 feet of elevation,” Wesley said. “Hampton is going to have 1,500 feet of elevation. We’re going to have a little bit of something for everybody between the two trail systems and plus the greenway connection where you can walk your dog, go for a run, take a nice stroll or absolutely crush it in some type two fun where you want to just sweat your brains out. You know you can make it as hard or as easy as you want it.”

Jamison Evans, The Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) President, also presented. He said he would love for people to join the association, help volunteer, and donate.

A work day at Tannery Knobs will take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, from noon to 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to help build up the trails, by cleaning, digging and carving them out.

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