APPALACHIAN HIGHLANDS (July 28th, 2021) — The sense of community in and around The Appalachian Highlands is growing. With an influx of mountain biking trails, persevering small business owners, and enthusiastic local entrepreneurs, it's no surprise that folks are flocking to Northeast Tennessee! And while us locals deeply cherish our best kept secret spots, it's refreshing to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves!
The MTB Culture
The Appalachian Highlands is packed with mountain adventuring opportunities! Surrounded by national forests and full of state parks, the accessibility to hiking and mountain biking trails is endless in every direction. Johnson City boasts ample access to after-work trails from Buffalo Mountain, Tannery Knobs, and Winged Deer Park. Weekend trips and full bike days can be extended out to Pisgah, leaving countless miles of trails in-between. The access to mountain biking in our backyard unites families, tourists, volunteers, and the general public.
Mountain Biking (mtb) has contributed to the overall feeling of community in our area. The sport helps riders grow confidence, have fun, volunteer, and make new friends! Mountain Bikers fight to protect, expand, and build new trails. The mtb culture has sparked a fire in Johnson City, Erwin, and Hampton. Trek kicked off July with their monthly summer Taco Trek Ride and brought the entire community out to ride the streets together.
Recently, the community came together to fight for The Hampton Watershed trails expansion project, now backed by Carter County. Both the city and county have joined forces on this project, giving the entire community a sense of unity and growth. Brian Keith, who has consistently nurtured and maintained the Hampton trails, has kept the community informed and stoked on how to advocate for the Watershed project. It goes to show how one passionate member of a micro-culture like mountain biking can inspire the entire community leading to growth for all.
And check out plans for the Unicoi Mountain Bike Park!
The growth and rejuvenation of Tennessee's downtown areas is exciting and marvelous- there's no other way to put it. Jerome Bowers, owner of Crystal Raven in Downtown Jonesborough, discusses the importance of community and how their small business has been backed by locals and tourists alike.
Other areas on the rise: Rogersville, Tenn.
Our region, specifically in Johnson City, has become home to a very special group of out-of-the-box thinkers. Founders Forge helps startups along their entrepreneurial journey within the community. They provide coaching, workshops, and a supportive group of independent thinkers who have come together to bring new ideas to The Appalachian Highlands. David Nelson and his team of giants, fight for the underdog and provide a safe space to idea pitch and "run with it." Founders Forge hosts the annual Pitchers and Pitches event (the region's largest open pitch competition event), where aspiring entrepreneurs come out to the local ball field to pitch their ideas for prizes and potential investors.
FytFeed, founded by JC locals Dennis Ashford and Katie Houston, has a vision to "Make the world active through community." They are building the FytFeed platform to promote healthy living based around an encouraging community. Follow their Instagram page here to stay up to date on the official release of the FytFeed app, where friendly competition is encouraged! #ynot
Our community is growing! To promote the outdoors our region has to offer, don't forget the annual Meet the Mountains Festival is right around the corner. If you're interested in volunteering, you can sign up here.
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Traveler. Writer. Mom.