In honor of the new year, we have prepared a list of (20)14 reasons to love the Tennessee River Gorge.

#1 – It’s free.

After checking your bank balance the days following Christmas, I bet “free” sounds pretty good. Here’s an idea for some free fun: Bundle up and take your family for a walk on Stringer’s Ridge. Go camping at the Pot Point campsite. Ride your mountain bike on Raccoon Mountain. These are all free. And I’m sure you could use the fresh air after being cooped up in your house!

#2 – It’s beautiful.

fall point

Enough said.

#3 – It doesn’t require anything of you.

You don’t need reservations. There’s no time limit. The sale is not ending in 15 minutes, and you will not lose your tickets if you navigate away from the webpage. The Gorge is a constant in the world of the rapidly changing. Take advantage of the open space and all the peace it has to offer.

#4 – It keeps our air and water clean.

The Gorge acts as a natural filtering system for our air and water. The Pink mucket pearlymussel and the Cumberland pigtoe are just two of the endangered mussels working around the clock to make sure our water and air remain pure. Let’s make sure they stay healthy, so we stay healthy.  

#5 – It's what makes Chattanooga. 

The Tennessee River Gorge is extraordinary in its proximity to the city. When Chattanoogans were asked by THRIVE 2055 surveyors, "What do you love most about your city?" the loudest and most frequent answer was "MOUNTAINS." See the Word Cloud below to see how much the natural beauty of this place matters to us as Chattanoogans. 


#6 - It hosts about 30 threatened and endangered species. 

Our backyard is amazing. The diverse landscape of the Gorge provides the perfect habitat for some of this world’s rare creatures. Check out a complete list of T&E species occurring in the Tennessee River Gorge here.

#7 – It’s an internationally-recognized biosphere reserve.

Come again? Read more here:

#8 – It keeps you sane. 

Is your head fuzzy? After checking iPhones, iMessages, voicemails, emails, Facebook messages, Twitter feeds, Pinterest boards, Etsy transactions, and ebay items to watch, you need a break. The Tennessee River Gorge offers a respite from the responsibilities and distractions of the modern world. Take a walk on the Self-Guided Pot Point Trail and regain some patience for all that life throws at you.

#9 – It keeps a finger on our pulse as a city.

Because the Tennessee River Gorge is downstream from the happenings of the city of Chattanooga, it acts as an indicator for the health of our city. That's why we at the Trust are committed to conducting research on our lands. In 2014, we will be starting a large-scale study of the Cerulean Warbler, a North American songbird that we have in the Tennessee River Gorge whose population has declined 70% since 1966. Why is that? What does its decline mean for us, the Warbler's neighbors? We are working to find out, so check in the coming months for updates on our research!

#10 – It has hidden gems.

If you have the patience, energy, and time, the Gorge has some incredible things to show you.

Like Blowing Wind Falls:

blowing wind falls

Like this juvenile Eastern newt:

eastern newt

#11 – One word: Moonshiners.

Who needs reality TV when you’ve got the real thing? The Tennessee River Gorge is filled with harrowing tales that we at the Trust see as part of our cultural backstory. In the coming year, we will be working to gather these stories and share them with the community. For now, click here to see a picture of our Board President Dean Poi standing in an old moonshine furnace on our land! 

#12 – It serves as a stage for education.

outreach tyner

We want people learning from our lands. The Gorge has so much to teach us with regards to science and with regards to our role in the world as natural beings. In order to share this knowledge and wisdom with the next generation, we at the Trust are partnering with local schools to get students outdoors. If you are interested in partnering with us, please don't hesitate to contact Outreach & Development Director Sarah Quattrochi at 423.266.0314 x2. 

#13 – It's got Pot Point Cabin.

In short, Pot Point Cabin is the bee's knees. It was built with hand hewn logs in 1835. It has a gorgeous view of the river. And it is named after the "Boiling Pot" rapids that used to trip up Tennessee River navigators. These are only a couple of the features that make Pot Point Cabin so incredible. Go see it for yourself and enjoy the Self-Guided Pot Point Nature Trail or rent it for your next event!

#14 –It’s for all of us.

The Tennessee River Gorge doesn't discrimnate based on age, size, shape, or smell. It's an equal opportunity space where everyone can go to regroup and learn. Let’s continue to take care of it. It’s the only home we've got.