Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Cumberland Trail efforts are renewed

The Associated Press

        CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The gritty work of volunteers has revived interest in the Cumberland Trail, envisioned 30 years ago as a second Appalachian Trail extending through Tennessee into Kentucky.

        The hiking path won the Legislature's approval in 1971, but work on the trail stalled when a change in administrations shifted the state's economic priorities.

        Now, volunteers are pitching in to clear 110 miles of the proposed 283- mile stretch along the Cumberland Plateau.

        Their work earned an accolade last month from the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Recreation Trails. The national recognition could help the nonprofit Cumberland Trail Conference match $3 million in public funds pledged to complete the trail by 2008.

        Once completed, the Cumberland Trail State Park would extend from the Prentice Cooper State Forest in southeast Tennessee to the Cumberland Gap Na tional Park at the Kentucky border.

        “It was tremendously disappointing when all the work that went into it in the '70s seemed wasted, but it's going like gangbusters now,” said Sam Powell, a founding member of the Tennessee Trail Association.

        Mr. Powell said seeing the Cumberland Trail making such progress is “like a dream come true.


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- Cumberland Trail efforts are renewed