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Wild Trails Awards 1st $2000 Grant to Southeastern Climbers Coalition

Wild Trails announces the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) as recipient of the first of five $2000 grants, to be awarded this week and next week. This inaugural — and now biannual — cycle of the Wild Trails Grants Program will support organizations committed to helping carry out Wild Trails’ mission of promoting the use, expansion and protection of trails in the greater Chattanooga area. The SCC grant will support the Deep Creek Land Acquisition, for a trailhead and parking, to facilitate greater access to the Deep Creek and Soddy Gorge segments of the Cumberland Trail for climbers, hikers, and trail runners alike.

“On behalf of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition board I would like to thank Wild Trails for their support in securing access to Deep Creek on the Cumberland Trail. Both Wild Trails and the SCC share similar missions of expanding and protecting outdoor resources and we look forward to partnering with Wild Trails on similar projects in the future,” said Matthew Gant, President of the SCC.

The SCC grant proposal identified the problem that there is currently no feasible trailhead or parking area to access Deep Creek & Soddy Gorge, one of the most-coveted areas for outdoor enthusiasts. The current parking for access to the Deep Creek Gorge is only large enough for two cars, and is located more than three miles from the area.

The SCC plans to purchase a nearby adjacent property (currently under contract), develop an ample parking area, build an information kiosk, and establish a coded gate to access the parking area. The information kiosk will contain details regarding the trail system, as well as the non-profits that support the maintenance of the trail. There will also be specific educational information regarding Scutellaria Montana, the endangered plant that grows along the southern terminus of the Cumberland Plateau.

The total land purchase cost will be $20,000, and the estimated cost for parking lot construction, kiosk, and gate is estimated at $6,000 for a project total of $26,000.

Jonathan Mobley, Executive Director of Wild Trails, commenting on the grant:

“We are excited to partner with the SCC in addressing the issue of access to this section of the Cumberland Trail. It seemed only appropriate that the first Wild Trails grant be in support of an organization committed to giving people greater opportunity to experience the Cumberland Trail, a hidden gem in our region. This land acquisition has been the result of many individuals and groups who are passionate about seeing this portion of land protected and well stewarded, and we are happy to be in such good company.”

About Wild Trails:
Wild Trails is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to promote the use, protection and expansion of trails in greater Chattanooga. We provide resources, education and events to help others enjoy and take part in preserving trails in our region.

About Southeastern Climbers Coalition:
The Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving climbing access in the Southeast. The SCC aims to provide an ongoing means for climbers throughout the area to come together and respond effectively to access threats to crags, as well as the impacts of increasing use.