The Land Trust for Tennessee and The Mountain Goat Trail Alliance are working
together to add nearly 23 more miles to the Mountain Goat Trail, a rail-to-trail
community outdoor recreation project to convert an abandoned railroad bed to a
multi-use recreational corridor between Grundy and Franklin counties on the
Cumberland Plateau. The trail will connect local communities to natural areas
like Fiery Gizzard and other scenic and recreational sites. The completed trail
will extend over 35 miles along the route that once brought coal and passengers
to and from the Cumberland Plateau.The Sewanee section of the trail has been
enjoyed for over a decade by The University of The South community.
The completed Mountain Goat Trail could bring over $1.2 million in annual economic benefits to the area, according to a report by students from the Babson Center for Global Commerce at The University of the South.
“All the stakeholders connected with the Mountain Goat Trail – elected officials, business owners, and private citizens – have always believed that the Trail would bring economic as well as health benefits to the Mountain. Now, thanks to the Babson Center and The University of the South, we have research to support that belief,” said Janice Thomas, board president of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance.
The report, prepared by the Babson Center’s Class of 2015 Carey Fellows, was presented to the MGTA and the public on Wednesday, November 20th in Gailor Auditorium on the University campus. Data including studies of other rail-to-trail projects, local demographic statistics, and formulas for calculating effects of tourism on a local economy was used in the report. “The Mountain Goat Trail offers unique opportunities to connect communities, as well as attract tourists from across the Southeast. The construction of the trail also benefits the local communities in many ways ranging from offering a habitat for better outdoor education for local schools to offering community members a place to exercise,” the report concludes.