February 2021 Events + News
February is Black History Month, a time to recognize the achievements of local black heroes and heroines. We invite you to celebrate by visiting one of the parks and outdoor spaces that highlights and honors black history, is named after influential black leaders, and learn about their contributions to our scenic city. In this newsletter, you'll find a list of those outdoor spaces and parks and discover local organizations that are working to diversify the outdoors!
Outdoor Chattanooga Programs
We're hosting a series of free, interactive virtual workshops so you can learn outdoor skills from the comfort of your own home! Workshops occur bi-weekly on Tuesdays, 7:00-8:00 PM beginning January 12 through March 23. We kicked the series off with Hiking 101 and Fishing 101. If you missed these live workshops, you can view the recordings below. This month, we're offering Shelter Building 101 and Camp Cooking 101. Find additional details below. Workshops are free and open to all ages. No experience required to participate. Online reservations are required in advance (links below). Attendees will have the opportunity to win a door prize for attending. We hope you'll join us for one, some or all!
Shelter Building 101
Feb 9 | 7-8 PM

Join Outdoor Chattanooga’s Recreation Specialist and avid outdoorsman, Cole Henderson for an interactive wilderness survival workshop focusing on shelter building. Learn practical tips and strategies that every outdoor traveler should know, including what essentials to carry and how to make an emergency shelter. Come with your best questions to stump the instructor and leave confident you could survive if you got lost in the woods overnight. Workshop attendees will be entered into a random drawing to win a Map & Compass Navigation Course from our friends at REI Chattanooga

Photo by @clemono Clem Onojeghuo on https://unsplash.com/
Camp Cooking 101
Feb. 23 | 7-8 PM

Don't limit your camping meals to hot dogs and s’mores. With the right ingredients, tools, and know-how, you can prepare gourmet feasts without a gourmet kitchen. Join Outdoor Chattanooga’s Program Coordinator and master chef, Terri Chapin, to learn about the various outdoor cooking methods, supplies, and tricks for easy and tasty cuisine utilizing backpacking and car camping equipment. Learn how to create healthy, delicious meals using different types of stoves/fuel, and various types of camping cookware. Participants will have the opportunity to win a gift card to Lodge Cast Iron to cook with on their next camping adventure!

Hiking 101 Workshop Recording
Fishing 101 Workshop Recording
Monday, Feb. 8 | 4:00-5:30 PM
Learn how to ride a bicycle in as little as one class with Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced instructors. Gain the skills and confidence to get out there riding on your own! FREE classes offered monthly on the 2nd Monday at 4 PM. Ages 5+. Bikes, helmets, and instruction provided. Online reservations required in advance. Call 423-643-6888 to learn more.

Local Outdoor Adventure Spotlight
Outdoor Chattanooga Explores Black History
In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting the outdoor spaces, the people, the stories, and the organizations that have historical significance for black communities, and the efforts being made by local organizations to diversify the outdoors!
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
The Bessie Smith Cultural Center (BSCC) was founded in 1983 as the Chattanooga African American Museum to preserve, develop, exhibit, study, and advocate meaningful approaches to educate the community about the contributions of African-Americans to the community and this nation. BSCC has become a recognized cultural institution providing a variety of workshops, visual and performing art performances, cultural-based programs, art programs and classes, festivals, and celebrations.
Booker T Washington State Park
Booker T. Washington State Park is a 353-acre park situated on the shores of Chickamauga Lake. It was built largely by African-American units of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was originally designated under segregation as one of two Tennessee State Parks for use by blacks (the other being T. O. Fuller State Park near Memphis) until discrimination in public accommodations in the United States was banned under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Park is named in honor of the famous leader, Booker Taliaferro Washington. Born into slavery and freed by the age of nine, Washington fought throughout his life to earn a higher education. Washington’s dedication earned him a scholarship to Hampton Normal Agriculture Institute for Freedman in Hampton, Va. He is best known for being the former president of the Tuskegee Institute, a black organization for higher education. Washington strongly believed that agriculture and vocational education were the keys to advance a newly freed race to a better life.
Fishing, hiking, mountain biking, basketball, paddling, picnicking, and swimming are popular activities at this park. In 2018, Outdoor Chattanooga and Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga received a Paddle Nation grant from the Outdoor Foundation and partnered with Booker T. Washington State Park to teach paddling skills to inner-city youth and lead them on a kayak trip down the Tennessee River.

Black History at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

For 200 years, African Americans have played a vital role in shaping the history of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. In 1863, the Civil War Campaign for Chattanooga saw more than 150,000 men clash on battlefields to gain control over the city of Chattanooga. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of African Americans worked for the armies. Some fought. As a result of the Civil War, four million slaves were set free, and the passage of Constitutional Amendments began the process of extending the rights and privileges of citizenship to people of color. Learn about the people and stories of African Americans who struggled for equality and citizenship in the nation's oldest national military park.
Jacob Cummings escaped from slavery on July 29, 1839 after taking an old Indian canoe and launching from the shores of Moccasin Bend near Brown's Ferry. He crossed the Tennessee River and found sanctuary on Williams Island for a few days before crossing back to the north side of the river and making his way North. He eventually made it to Canada, where he became an active agent on the Underground Railroad and helped liberate other slaves.
On the 180th year anniversary of Jacob's successful attempt to liberate himself, Outdoor Chattanooga partnered with the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and National Park Partners to offer a guided kayak tour to retrace his paddle to freedom down the Tennessee River. This was a story worth recreating and we hope we can offer it again!
Lincoln Park
Historic Lincoln Park has been a gathering place for Black communities from across the South for generations. During segregation, when the city's black residents were barred from nearby Engel Stadium and Warner Park, Lincoln Park was built for and the main center for recreation for black residents. The park included a carnival with amusement rides, a soul food restaurant, a recreation center, the largest swimming pool open to African Americans in the region, and a baseball field where the Negro Leagues played and hosted stars such as Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. For decades, black families from across the South, including major cities like Atlanta and Nashville, would travel to Lincoln Park for picnics, swimming, ball games, and family reunions. Lincoln Park’s recreation center was the site of the first public preschool programs for Black children in Chattanooga and the site of Howard High School’s football games for many years. The park was determined eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017 for its importance in the social and recreational history of the city's African American population. Today, it sits in the middle of controversy and its history is being threatened by development and the demand for progress.

Bridge Chattanooga
Bridge Chattanooga's mission is to provide Dalewood middle school students access to nature, and community adventures to serve as a springboard to build relationships and teach leadership skills that help them lead healthy, productive, and joyful lives. Outdoor Chattanooga and other local organizations partner with Bridge Chattanooga to provide meaningful outdoor experiences for the students.

Lookout Mountain Conservancy
Lookout Mountain Conservancy's (LMC) mission is to protect the scenic, historic and ecological resources on Lookout Mountain for current and future generations through conservation, advocacy, recreation, and education. In 2012, LMC established a nationally recognized program employing interns from The Howard School and using Lookout Mountain as a classroom to teach leadership, academic, social, and conservation skills. With help from Howard interns, LMC manages the property, providing recreational access to the trails and boulders on Lookout Mountain. We encourage you to learn about this local organization and its efforts to inspire, uplift and support youth in our community while conserving land for all to enjoy. Support LMC's efforts here. Find where to recreate here!
Trips for Kids
A partnership between Trips for Kids Chattanooga, Southeast Conservation Corps, Bridge Chattanooga, Sunshine's Adventures, and the City of Collegedale Police Department brought four young women together in the summer of 2020 to teach mountain biking skills on local trails around Chattanooga and complete an overnight biking trip at Lula Lake.

Other Organizations
There are several organizations in Chattanooga that specifically target young people of color and in working with them, they find ways to provide outdoor recreational opportunities. Often times these organizations partner with Outdoor Chattanooga for programming.


While we intended for this list to be comprehensive, we are human and don't know everything. If you know of an organization or individual that promotes outdoor recreation for the black community, please share it with us. It will help us better serve our collective community!
Accounts and People to Follow
If you're looking to diversify your social media feeds, here are some accounts you should follow!


Did we miss someone? If you have a recommendation for a person or account we should include in this list, share it with us.
Outdoor Community Experiences
The Great Backyard Bird Count
February 12 — 15
Winter is a great time to observe birds and for four days each February, the world comes together for the love of birds to participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count. The Great Backyard Bird Count is an inter-organizational effort between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada. They invite people to spend time in their favorite places watching and counting as many birds as they can and report their findings to eBird between February 12-15, 2021. These observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations. By entering your data and observations into eBird, you'll be contributing to the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science (community science) project. No matter what corner of the world you live in or visit, share your joy of birdwatching and contribute to the count.
Locally, Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park invites you to use the park as your birding oasis and birding explorations during the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Introduction to Backpacking
February 4 - 25
Hiwassee/Ocoee Rivers State Park is offering 4 different classes to prepare you for a successful backpacking experience. The fourth and final class will be a free overnight trip led by seasoned backpacker and 2018 Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Ranger Jeremy Sorensen. Classes start February 4 and occur Thursday evenings. Participants must attend 2 of the classes to participate in the overnight trip.

ACA Tennessee Live Series
February 1 - April 8
ACA Tennesee has partnered with local, regional, and national paddling experts to provide valuable information and resources to the Tennessee Paddling Community. Each session will focus on a different paddling topic or community resource. The purpose is to help new and seasoned paddlers get on Tennessee waterways safely! All broadcasts will be available in real-time and archived on ACA Tennessee Facebook page for viewing later.

Into America's Wild IMAX 3D February 12 - September 2021
On February 12, The Tennessee Aquarium will launch a new IMAX 3D film – Into America’s Wild 3D”, a visually stunning cross-country adventure into the hidden wonders of the natural world. A non-stop ride via kayak, bike, train, hot air balloon, zipline, and more. Into America’s Wild explores some of the most beautiful but little-known landscapes of North America, from the wilds of Alaska and the lush coastline of Oregon to the ancient canyons of the Southwest and the rolling hills of the Appalachian Trail.
 
Upcoming Events
Outdoor Chattanooga | 423.643.6888 | info@outdoorchattanooga.com | www.outdoorchattanooga.com