The sense of community in and around Northeast Tennessee 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 our mountains!
Mountain Biking Culture
Northeast Tennessee is packed with mountain adventure 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 even further from Paint Creek to Warrior’s Path State Park, leaving countless miles of trails in-between.
The access to mountain biking in our backyard unites families, visitors, volunteers, and locals. Early this year, Unicoi County held the ribbon cutting for Unaka Bike Park offering over 10 miles of trails and plans for expansion. Just across the street, local entrepreneur Bobby McNeely opened up a bike rental shop dubbed The Peddlers Rest. This goes to show how sports like mountain biking have a direct impact on economic growth and small business entreprenuership.
Mountain biking has contributed to the overall feeling of community in Northeast Tennessee. The sport encourages riders to grow confidence, have fun, volunteer, and make new friends! Mountain bikers fight to protect, expand, and build new trails. The culture has sparked a movement in Johnson City, Erwin, and Hampton. Trek kicked off summer with their monthly Taco Trek Rides and brought the entire community out to ride the streets of Downtown Johnson City together.
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, discusses the importance of community and how he and his wife’s small business has been backed by locals and visitors traveling through Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.
Other areas on the rise: Rogersville, Tenn.
Northeast Tennessee, specifically Johnson City, has become home to a very niche 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 area. David Nelson and his team of giants, fight for the underdog and provide a safe space to pitch ideas 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 Johnson City locals Dennis Ashford and Katie Houston, has a vision to “Make the world active through community.” They are building the FytFeed platform, available now to sync to Apple, Garmin, and Fitbit, to promote healthy living based around an encouraging community. Follow their Instagram page to stay up to date on upcoming challenges like the ETSU National Yoga Month challenge or USA Raft Adventure Resort’s recent ‘Dance Into Fall’ challenge. Participants have opportunities to explore Northeast Tennessee by staying active and winning local prizes.
Article & Photography By:
Alicia Bynum, AdventurePickle.com