New signage has been posted along to the Tweetsie Trail as it nears its grand opening on Aug. 30. (Tony Casey/Johnson City Press)
Location, location, location has Milligan College buzzing about the opening of the Tweetsie Trail in early September.
From the recently constructed Milligan Depot, a replica of the original depot that once stood about a half mile from campus, placed at about the two-mile mark from the beginning of Tweetsie Trail, the college’s steeple can be seen on the horizon, just a few minutes away. The spot will now serve as a rest stop for runners, walkers, hikers and bikers as they patronize the trail, which goes all the way to Elizabethton, aimed at becoming a 10-mile length from start to finish.
"This is extremely important to the college’s running program and school in general, in that it will be able to highlight some of its history as well as recruit distance runners to the running-friendly institution,” Mark Fox, Milligan’s vice-president for athletics and student development said. “This is a huge recruiting and training tool. The surface is an idea tool for training.”
Chris Layne, head coach of the Buffaloes’ track and field and cross country programs suggested it would be a fine way for student athletes to get involved in the community recreational trail, especially because of the amount of miles they plan to log there.
Picking up litter is the least the school can do, Fox said, holding to its National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics mission to serve each school’s local community.
With the intent of starting a local trend of camaraderie and equal ownership over the trail, Fox said he hopes other groups will get involved, too.
“We’re hoping to stimulate other community groups to adopt a section,” Fox said.
The Tweetsie Trail task force, headed by Dr. Dan Schumaier, is operating on full speed to get everything lined up for the trail’s opening and hasn’t assigned any “adopt-a-section” portions yet, but Fox says Milligan’s runners are pushing for the section surround their depot, which is close to the campus.
Milligan was the first, but won’t be the last to volunteer its time to the betterment of the trail, Schumaier said. He and Fox are hoping Milligan’s enthusiasm of being a part of the long term care of the trail will reverberate through the community, bringing out help from other well-doing groups.
“We’re going to have sections of the trail that can be adopted,” Schumaier said, hoping he gets to the point where he has to decide which section is cared for by which group.
He said it will be just like the adopt-a-highway, which fits together well with how the trail has reached its level of completion.
“The reason this project has come together is because of all the community involvement,” he said.
Schumaier said any group that wants to adopt a section can contact the Tweetsie Trail through www.tweetsietrail.com.
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