TVA's Raccoon Mountain Trail System Garners National Award

Dec 15, 2010, 15:43 ET from Tennessee Valley Authority

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Chattanooga chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association received the 2010 National Partnership Award from American Trails for their work on the Raccoon Mountain trail system near Chattanooga.


The 17-mile trail system encircles a 528-acre reservoir supporting TVA's Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage generating plant. The trails have become a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers from around the region.

The award from American Trails, a nonprofit organization that works to protect and enhance the nation's network of trails, recognizes partnerships that have benefited agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design or implementation and have contributed to a positive public experience.

The Chattanooga chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association led and managed the trail work on Raccoon Mountain, and TVA conducted an environmental review to be sure a trail could be created that would protect the environment. TVA biologists, archaeologists, recreation specialists, and others evaluated the potential impact on the forested land area. TVA continues to provide assistance on future trail development plans.

The Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association works to promote land access, trail preservation, and new trail development in the Southeast. Staff and volunteers provide training for builders to create trails that prevent erosion as well as promote "Leave No Trace" policies with outdoor enthusiasts to reduce their impact on the environment.

"Recreational pursuits by TVA, such as the Raccoon Mountain trail system, encourage the use of properly managed, eco-friendly dispersed recreation on public lands," said Anda Ray, senior vice president of Environment and Technology. "This aligns well with TVA's Environmental Policy, which includes enhancing public benefits of the Tennessee Valley's land and water resources – making it a better place to live, work and play, today and for future generations."

"Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association's Chattanooga chapter would like to thank TVA for the opportunity to build this trail system for the local community," said Erik Rippon, vice president of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association. "The partnership formed years ago by TVA and Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association's Chattanooga chapter has resulted in the construction of a true gem for the Chattanooga outdoor community and will hopefully become a model for other Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association chapters regionally."

The Raccoon Mountain trail system includes trails for novices and experts. Multiple mountain biking and trail running events occur on weekends during the spring, summer and fall months. Events have included the Southeast Regional Championships with more than 300 racers and the Scenic City Trail Marathon with more than 200 runners. The trails have been recognized in two national mountain bike publications, "Bike Magazine" and "Mountain Bike Magazine."

This project has gained widespread support from various organizations, including the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program; Outdoor Chattanooga; the Bikes Belong Coalition, and an extensive network of volunteers.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to about 34,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA's service territory are below the national average.

SOURCE Tennessee Valley Authority