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Local leaders meet to discuss plans for a new trail park

FROM STAFF REPORTS
On Thursday evening local leaders and community members gathered to hear plans for a new trail park with ties to the historic Tweetsie Railroad.
Carter County received a donation of approximately 27 acres of property which follows the historic Tweetsie Railroad line from the Valley Forge community into Hampton.
The ultimate goal of this new project is to develop the trail and eventually connect it up with the existing Tweetsie Trail and also to create a connection with the Hampton Watershed Bike Trails.
“We are excited about this project and the prospects it presents for Carter County,” said Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby. “This project will increase outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents and also promote tourism for our community.”
The property follows the line of the historic railroad from Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge through the river gorge and up to Railroad Street in Hampton.
This section of the historic railway crossed over the Doe River and then through a tunnel into Hampton.
The Carter County Parks & Recreation Board is working to develop the property into a trail, which is to be named Tunnel Trail Park.
One of the major tasks in developing the project will be providing a safe river crossing. One of the hopes of the project is to reconstruct the old railroad bridge that crossed the river.
On Thursday, Mayor Woodby and Parks & Rec Board Chairman Ken Gough led a group of local community leaders on a walk along the trail and through the tunnel. After the tour of the trail site, the group discussed the vision for the project.
Once the project is complete and links up with the existing Tweetsie Trail and the Hampton Watershed trails, cyclists and pedestrians would be able to travel from Johnson City all the way to Hampton on the trail.