Wears Valley Mountain Bike Trail System
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) is proposing a mountain bike trail system within the Foothill Parkway Section 8D corridor in Wears Valley, Sevier County, Tennessee. The proposed project is needed because recreational access and opportunities are currently limited along unfinished sections of the Foothills Parkway, including Section 8D. The GRSM General Management Plan and the original Foothills Parkway Master Plan, envisioned some form for recreational development in the Wears Valley area, but none currently exist. Community interest in exploring possible recreational opportunities along undeveloped sections of the Foothills Parkway has increased. The Conservation Fund recently began engaging the National Park Service and community stakeholders to identify specific recreational opportunities that would not conflict with future completion of the Parkway as envisioned by Congress. This process identified mountain biking as a potentially compatible opportunity, with strong community interest in establishing a network of trails specifically designed for mountain biking use. Recommendations included further analysis of opportunities to develop a mountain bike trail system in the Wears Valley portion of Section 8D. While more than 800 miles of trails exist in the Park, less than 8 miles are open to biking and there are no by-design mountain biking trails. Most of the Park's trails are in areas managed as wilderness where bikes are not permitted. The Foothills Parkway corridor, which is within the Park's transportation management zone and is not managed as wilderness, could provide visitors new opportunities to experience the park through mountain biking.
Dana Soehn 865-436-1207