Chattanooga Bike Club Rallies Support for Stringer’s Ridge

Chattanooga, TN, 11/25/2008: The Trust for Public Land’s (TPL’s) effort to preserve 92 acres on Stringer’s Ridge will do more than preserve a view, according to Jim Johnson, president of the Chattanooga Bicycle Club. It also will open the door for the creation of a wooded trail system minutes from downtown perfect for cyclists, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

With that in mind – as well as the ridge’s importance as a backdrop for the city’s downtown parks and its historic value – the club has pledged $5,000 to TPL’s Save Stringer’s Ridge Campaign and will match donations from bicycle club members and other outdoor clubs or club members, up to an additional $5,000.

“Chattanooga is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities. It’s a wonderful place to live,” Johnson said. “But preserving Stringer’s Ridge isn’t just about recreation and conservation. It makes economic sense, too. We’re increasingly becoming known as a tourism destination for outdoor activities, and that brings money to our city.”

Johnson points to the work of the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association (SORBA) building a network of trails at Raccoon Mountain. “On any given day, you can see license plates from four or five different states in the parking lots. And now we can have a trail system barely a mile from downtown. Supporting this project should be a true community effort, and we challenge all outdoor enthusiasts to support TPL.”

Already, donations have come in from members of Scenic City Velo, Velo Vixens Women’s Cycling Team, SORBA, the Chattanooga Track Club and the Trailblazers Adventure Racing Club, in addition to the Chattanooga Bicycle Club.

In partnership with the City of Chattanooga, TPL launched a campaign to protect Stringer’s Ridge in September. TPL has raised over $300,000 since then, but still needs to raise $800,000 ($200,000 by December 12) from individuals, corporations, and foundations. If the full amount is not raised, 10 acres of the Stringer’s Ridge property may need to be sold to finance the project.

“Financial support from the general public is key to protecting Stringer’s Ridge,” said Rick Wood, director of TPL’s Chattanooga office. “We really appreciate this generous donation from the Chattanooga Bicycle Club, and hope their challenge will be met by other outdoor groups and individuals who love our parks and green spaces.”