New mixed-use trail in Cherokee promises thrilling single-track bike riding, gentler hiking and running trails

Above the Oconaluftee Indian Village, there’s a new series of trails taking shape thanks to a grant from Cherokee Preservation Foundation. That grant was requested by the EBCI Economic and Community Development Office (E&CD), now called Project Management.

About nine miles of mixed-use trails are now in progress on this steep land, which is excellent for mountain biking, running, and hiking. Construction started this past September on a three-mile family friendly, gentler beginner trail. Other trails include a longer intermediate loop and a single track advanced downhill trail for mountain bike use only. The construction of the total nine-mile trail system should be complete in mid-February, 2017, thanks to funding provided by EBCI.

Tinker Jenks is a Program Associate with CPF; she was previously with the Tribe as the Tribal Planner in E&CD. While she was with the Tribe, she successfully applied for a $25,000 planning grant from CPF for the mixed-use trail system. During the planning phase, it came to the attention of the E&CD office that the Junaluska Leadership Council, a local youth leadership organization, had also recently submitted a resolution to Tribal Council requesting the addition of trails on the Qualla Boundary. The resolution was fortunately passed and this trail system fit nicely within the desires of the youth and Tribal Council.

Tinker’s decision to come to work with the Cherokee Preservation Foundation was based on two factors. “I was ready for a change with my career and I wanted to help the community more. In my new position at CPF I can do that in a broader way, working with the seven western counties.”

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