March 2021 Events + News
The arrival of March offers some light at the end of the long winter tunnel. It's the month we gladly give up an hour of sleep for Daylight Savings and welcome the beginning of Spring. Along with the promise of longer days and warmer weather, March kicks off the spring migration season for many bird species, creating buzz among birdwatchers. Chattanooga boasts great bird-watching locations, including a bird sanctuary that lies in the heart of downtown. Our awesome intern uncovers the history of Maclellan Island in this month's local adventure spotlight.
Outdoor Chattanooga Programs
Virtual Workshop Series
We're wrapping up our virtual workshop series this month with Bike Maintenance - How to Fix a Flat on March 9 and Intro to Backpacking on March 23 so you still have time to learn a new outdoor skill from the comfort of your own home! We kicked the series off with Hiking 101 and Fishing 101 in January, then Shelter Building and Camp Cooking 101 in February. If you missed these live workshops, you can view the recordings below or on our YouTube channel. Workshops are free and open to all ages. Online reservations are required in advance (links below). Attendees will have the opportunity to win a door prize for attending.
Bike Maintenance 101
March 9 | 7-8 PM

Outdoor Chattanooga's bicycle guru, James Eubank will dive into the most common repair and maintenance issue for everyday cyclists: how to fix a flat tire. Get your old bike out and practice at home during this live workshop and ask questions if you run into issues. A list of tools will be provided in the registration email so you can fix your own flat tire from the comfort of your own home. As a thank you, all attendees will receive a free Bike Chattanooga rental for participating in the workshop.

Intro to Backpacking
March 23 | 7-8 PM

Outdoor Chattanooga’s Director and avid outdoorsman, Philip Grymes will cover everything from essential gear to pack, trip and meal planning to how to go to the bathroom in the woods. We’ll provide a checklist so you don’t forget any essentials on your first trek out. Backpacking allows you to broaden your horizons beyond car camping to enjoy a richer, more immersive outdoor experience. Workshop attendees will be entered into a random drawing to win a Map & Compass Navigation Course with REI Chattanooga.

If you missed out on last month's workshops, you can watch the recorded webinars below. January's workshops are on our YouTube Channel.
Shelter Building 101 Recording
Camp Cooking 101 Workshop Recording
Chattanooga Classic Hikes | Big Foot Hike to Mushroom Rock
Saturday, March 13 | 10 AM - 1:00 PM
There have been whispers of a Bigfoot sighting on Signal Mountain! Outdoor Chattanooga is curious and recruiting brave adventurers to embark on a 2.2-mile round-trip guided hike to Mushroom Rock to search for clues and hopefully find the mysterious Bigfoot! Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, this family-friendly walk in the woods will ignite your imagination and inspire exploration. Appropriate for ages 5 and up with a participating adult. Cost: Free. Online reservations required in advance as space is limited. Call 423-643-6888 to learn more.

Chattanooga Classic Hikes | Stringers Ridge at Sunset
Tuesday, March 16 | 6:45 - 8:30 PM
Explore the trails of Stringer's Ridge Park as the sunsets and twilight twinkles on this free, guided hike with Outdoor Chattanooga. This leisurely paced 3-mile round-trip hike will lead up to an overlook in hopes to get the best view of the Scenic city's skyline and shimmering lights. Appropriate for ages 10+ when accompanied by an adult. Hike will last approximately 1.5 hours. Cost: Free. Online reservations required in advance as space is limited. Call 423-643-6888 to learn more.

Local Outdoor Adventure Spotlight
Outdoor Chattanooga Explores Maclellan Island
Maclellan Island is situated in the middle of the Tennessee River in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. The Walnut Street Bridge provides a great view of the western tip of the island, while Veterans Bridge passes directly over it. The only way to gain access to the island is by water, making it less visited and well-known than other landmarks in the city. The 18.8-acre island is owned and managed by the Chattanooga Audubon Society, and serves as a Bird Sanctuary. Surrounded by the bustling life of the city, the island is a valuable oasis to a variety of bird species including Herons, Osprey, songbirds, turkeys, owls, woodpeckers, and migrating warblers. The island boasts 1.5 miles of hiking trails, primitive camping, a Great-Blue Heron rookery, and Osprey nesting platforms, as well as incredible views of the Bluff View Art District and the rest of Downtown Chattanooga.
Maclellan Island is made even more unique by its long and interesting history. The earliest record of man inhabiting the island was discovered through archaeological digs’ that produced jewelry and remains dating back to the Woodland Period (circa 405 BC). The island has passed through many hands and been called by many names. It was first named Ross’s Landing Island then Crutchfield Island, Chattanooga Island and Audubon Island followed. The first mention of the island was recorded by Thomas Crutchfield registering his property in 1839. At that time, the island was a stable means of travel across the river by use of a swing ferry. It passed hands through other smaller landowners and then at the turn of the century was tossed between several Chattanooga land owning companies. In 1910, the island was owned by the Chattanooga Estates Company and at this time it was reported that lively, late-night parties were held on the island. The Bluff View residents who lived on the nearby cliffs decided to band together to buy the property in an attempt to end the parties. Among the residents was a man named Robert J. Maclellan who later on bought out all the other owners. The Maclellan family was already involved in several other philanthropic works when they decided to donate the island to the Chattanooga Audubon Society in 1954.
Now with its current function as a bird sanctuary and nature preserve, the island has slowly been reclaimed by trees and brush. In 1982, the construction of the Veterans Bridge over the island left a type of natural anomaly that is typically found in Death Valley or the Argentinian Desert. The 420-foot span of the steel girder bridge has created a rain desert in the land beneath the shadows. The small strip of land has adjusted its plant and animal life to desert-like conditions without sunlight and little rain. The hiking trails that blanket the island allow you to witness this anomaly firsthand.

A visit to Maclellan Island is the perfect spot to escape the bustling city while never leaving the city. If you haven't visited the island and would like to, check out these local businesses that offer water-based tours or paddle craft rentals.
Chattanooga Ducks - Land/water tours provide info about the island but not access to it.
Chattanooga Paddleboards - paddleboard rentals to access the island independently.
L2 Outside - Paddleboard and kayak rentals to access the island independently.
Rock Creek Adventures - Guided kayak tours to the island.
Southern Belle - Riverboat tours and dinner cruises that pass by the island.
Outdoor Community Experiences
Wild Ones Plant Natives Symposium 2021
March 19 — 21 + 27
Wild Ones, Tennessee Valley Chapter is hosting its 10th annual Symposium in March with 3 separate events. Wild Ones is a national organization that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the maintenance, restoration, and establishment of native plant communities. First up is a special seminar on native trees in a time of climate change on Friday, March 19th, with Dr. Tom Kimmerer. Next up is the 3-day virtual Symposium, March 19-21 showcasing expert speakers in the field of native plant gardening and responsible landscaping. Registrants will have access to the presentations for 6 months following the event. Finally, their largest Native Plant Marketplace will be at The First Horizon Pavilion, 1865 Reggie White Blvd. on Saturday, March 27 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Discount for students and early registration through March 10.

Paddle and Campout at Harrison Bay State Park
March 20
Harrison Bay State Park is offering a new program to encourage groups of people of all camping and paddling skill levels to get outside and have an adventure! The Park will provide canoe/kayak rentals, one night's stay on Patton Hill, camping gear, and a Park Ranger-led program that focuses on essential camping skills/knowledge to a group of up to 10 people. This program is best suited for an organization/club/group with a designated leader who will coordinate with a Park Ranger for more details. First offering is Saturday, March 20, with more dates available throughout the spring and summer. Only one group may participate each time. To learn more and register call the park at 423-208-4993. 
Chattanooga Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoor Youth Festival
March 27 | 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
The Chattanooga-area chapter of the Ducks Unlimited conservation organization is hosting its annual Great Outdoors Festival, sponsored again by Sportsman's Warehouse at the beautiful Covey Creek Farm, 2855 Cloud Springs Rd., Rossville, GA. "Greenwings" (11 and younger) and "Varsity" (ages 12 - 17) are dedicated Ducks Unlimited youth programs. The Great Outdoors Festival is FREE for all and includes a DU membership.

Mountain Biking Classes with Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park
March 4 - March 325
Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park has a mission to be your launchpad to adventure by offering a 4-part Intro to Mountain Biking Course through the month of March. The 4 sessions will cover basic bike maintenance, necessary equipment to carry, proper bike fit/type for your needs, and wrap up with a 12-mile bike ride. This course is for new and old riders looking to improve in the sport, have fun and meet new riding buddies. Don't have a bike? They have loaner bikes! Cost is $10 per session. The final session will be a free 12-mile bike ride on one of their favorite introductory trails.

ACA Tennessee Live Series
March 16 - March 31
ACA Tennesee 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
Now showing at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX – 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
March 2021
March 20 Rump Run at ESNP

April 2021
April 17 Clean Catoosa
Outdoor Chattanooga | 423.643.6888 | |