Regional Planning Commission to discuss Bryant Ridge bike trail

Published 4:50 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A possible off-road bike trail in the South Hills community is entering the planning phases.

Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission members will hear a proposal Thursday evening in regards to a bike trail that is being planned for Bryant Ridge, located behind South Hills Drive in the city.

According to documents provided by the city’s Planning and Development Office, the Bryant Ridge Phase 1 proposal includes a pump track near an existing gravel parking lot. The pump track would have a 55×48 total footprint with a 42×72 riding area and a four-foot-wide path.

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The track would also include beginner and intermediate rhythm sections.

Marc Upton, SORBA Tri-Cities vice president, provided a written statement to the commission indicating that he walked Bryant Ridge with former Trails Coordinator Sean Wiggins after receiving permission from Parks & Rec Director Mike Mains. Upton states in the letter that it is his personal opinion, and of SORBA Tri-Cities, that the property “lends itself well to the style of trail Mr. Bradley is proposing based on the topography and elevation profile of this property.” The vice president added the property would create a unique attraction that is being underutilized in Northeast Tennessee.

Opening up new trails in the Buffalo Mountain portion of the Cherokee National Forest is key for future development in the region, according to Upton.

“Many trail systems start on a grassroots basis in order to prove that the concept is indeed valid, keep the initial costs extremely low, and create an opportunity to form a relationship and goodwill between a user group and respective land manager. This is how Winged Deer Park trails began and since that relationship started the city of Johnson City now has two mountain bike trail systems underway and a third in the planning stages at Buffalo Mountain City Park,” he said in the letter provided by the Planning and Development Office.

In other business, commissioners will discuss the findings brought up during a recent sidewalk study of downtown Elizabethton.