“We’ll build a cantilevered wooden overlook here,” Woody indicates, “with seating, so people can sit, read a book, or watch the sunset.” It seems as if we can see forever; it’s hard to believe that Chattanooga was once declared the dirtiest city in America, with air so thick that motorists needed headlights to drive during the day.
From the overlook, a series of stakes bearing fluorescent orange flags marks the course of a new trail beneath an oak-and-hickory canopy. In 2009, Trust for Public Land acquired Stringer’s Ridge for a Chattanooga city park and now has hired Woody to lace the ridge with nearly 8 miles of trails. “We want new people to visit,” Woody says, “and we want everyone to stay longer.” Woody is all about connecting people with the land.
The same could be said for Chattanooga. The preservation and opening for public use of Stringer’s Ridge are emblematic of Chattanooga’s commitment to open space and quality of life as a key to its economic future.