The Cloudland Connector Grand Opening ceremony was a resounding success. About 75-100 people showed up to celebrate this monumental collaboration between the privately owned Lula Lake Land Trust and the public State Park of Cloudland Canyon. The entire event was just a reminder that this connector trail not only connects the beautiful Lula Lake with the equally stunning Cloudland Canyon, but also symbolically merges the private and public spheres in the name of conservation.
The amount of red tape obstructing a project of this nature is truly astounding, so it's quite an accomplishment that the Chattanooga area can now boast 30 more miles of fantastic multi-use trails for its collection. As such, many "thank you's" were given at the ceremony. Without the help of local organizations and volunteers, the Connector Trail never would have been created, so shout-outs were necessary. Groups like the Lyndhurst Foundation, Benwood Foundation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Rock/Creek Fellowship were given special thanks, as were plenty of others.
After the speeches were given and genuine appreciation was displayed, the fun began. There was a cookout with live music from the Folk School of Chattanooga's Christie Burns, and many like-minded & passionate outdoor enthusiasts lingered about engaging in conversation. There was even a little taste of the trails for four lucky mountain bikers who took off onto the new trail system with evident glee. (Don't worry, it's not too late to get your own early taste of the trails, as there will be a group ride starting at the Ascalon Trailhead at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 28th).
As for the trails themselves, mountain bikers will especially love what's been created, as it was SORBA volunteers who constructed them, and there is some really good single track flow. Trail runners and hikers will also enjoy them, as will parents & children, husbands & wives, and everyone else who loves the great outdoors in Tennessee and North Georgia.