TELLICO PLAINS-The rolling hills,
scenic views and outdoor recreation opportunities are continuing to
put Tellico Plains on the map.
The Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition (SEFTC) and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA) are working
together to partner with the Monroe County Department of Tourism and
the town of Tellico Plains to name the town a Trail Town.
"We have met with officials from the
organizations and with Tourism Director Julie Morgan," said Mayor Patrick Hawkins. "These are two big trail associations. They cover a lot of
ground and reach a lot of people with their websites."
Officials from the organizations have
said the designation as a Trail Town will help promote the wealth of
outdoor recreation opportunities and will highlight services that
merchants in the area can offer the people using the trails.
"It will get us out there, get us
recognized," said Hawkins. "They just did Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Their next options were Cherokee, North Carolina, or us."
As part of the Trail Town agreement,
the SEFTC and BMTA will do an inventory of the trails within 25 miles
of the town, categorizing them by type, length, difficulty level,
trail heads and facilities at or near the trail heads.
"They will rate them and add the
information to a database," said Hawkins
Using the inventory information, the
groups will create the database and a map, which will be placed on
the BMTA website. The SEFTC website and a new Trail Town section on
the county's tourism website will have links to the BMTA site section
containing the information of Tellico's trails.
In addition to trail information, the
organizations will work with the Department of Tourism to gather
information on area businesses, such as hotels, restaurants,
campgrounds, libraries, outfitters and more, which will support trail
users. The names of the businesses will be placed online, as well.
"It will gain a lot of exposure for
both the town and the county," said Hawkins.
Under the memorandum of understanding,
developing and maintaining the Trail Town section on the tourism
website will be the responsibility of the county's Department of
All outlets will work together to
develop fliers and publish articles in both local and regional
publications publicizing the town as a Trail Town.
"They will do the majority of the
work," said Hawkins.
The only thing the town will be
responsible for financially is helping to place signs on the main
arteries coming into the town, recognizing it as a Trail Town.
"The SEFTC will pay for one sign and
the BMTA will pay for two signs," Hawkins explained. "The Tourism
Department has agreed to pay for the rest, but if we need to or want
to, the town can probably help buy additional signs."
Annually, however, the two trail
organizations will work with the Department of Tourism and the town
to hold an event commemorating the Trail Town program.
"This can be a festival, a
walk-a-thon or something combined with another planned event," said
Hawkins. "It just has to be something annual."
At the Tellico Plains City Council
meeting on Thursday night, Hawkins presented the idea to the board,
who voted unanimously to move forward with the memorandum of
understanding between the organizations, the town and the Department
"It looks like a win-win situation to
me," said Alderman Kenneth Davis.
"It's a way to gain more exposure for
the town and another way to put Tellico on the map," he said.