Come Out and Play!
Outdoor Chattanooga News + Events January 2019
Outdoor Chattanooga's newsletter highlights the awesome outdoor activities happening in and around Chattanooga that will connect you to the outdoors and inspire you to come out and play with us!
Outdoor Chattanooga Events
Rapid Learning Winter Kayak Sessions
Tuesday, January 8 | 7-9 p.m.
Outdoor Chattanooga's  Rapid Learning Kayak Program provides formal instruction for beginner and seasoned kayakers to learn and develop whitewater kayaking skills. In the winter months, we move indoors to a heated pool at the Hulsey Wellness Center in Collegedale. Reservations, experience or equipment are NOT required to attend, and the first session is always free! There is a $2 pool use fee charged by the Wellness Center. Please bring cash. Additional sessions: Feb. 5, March 5, and April 9. For more info email Outdoor Chattanooga.
Winter Workshop Series
Thursdays | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. | January 10 - February 28
Outdoor Chattanooga's Winter Workshops are a series of classroom-based, outdoor education and skill-building workshops that cover a variety of outdoor topics. Workshops are free, open to all ages, and occur on Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM, Jan. 10 through Feb. 28, 2019, at Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St. in Coolidge Park. Join for one, some or all to improve your outdoor skills. No reservations or experience required to attend.

This Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop will cover the Seven Principles with an emphasis on preparation, planning, skills, and techniques that are essential to Leave No Trace. LNT Educator, Riley Kurtts will discuss what to do when nature calls in nature and how to properly poop in the woods. This workshop is geared towards anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors including scout leaders, camp staff, trip leaders, outdoor professionals, college students, and teachers. Certificate of completion available for those interested.

What's the catch with fishing in Chattanooga? Learn the basics of fishing from a local expert, Capt. Richard Simms, a certified U.S. Coast Guard Captain and owner/guide of Scenic City Fishing Charters . He will cover everything beginning anglers need to know to "get your feet wet", including equipment, required licenses, places to fish from shore, how and what to fish for in different seasons, and fishing courtesy.
We’ve become pretty dependent on smartphones for wayfinding, but what happens if the signal fails or the battery dies while you’re out on the trail? Learn the basics of how to navigate using the “old school” method of map and compass. Maps and compasses are available for use during the class.
Outdoor Chattanooga's bicycle guru, James Eubank, will demonstrate and allow time for practice on how to prevent and fix a flat tire. Tools will be provided and questions will be encouraged. Hands and clothing might get dirty/greasy. Bring your bike or use one of ours to practice on.

Learn to Play Disc Golf
Saturday, January 19 | 1 - 3 p.m.
Learn how to play Disc Golf with Outdoor Chattanooga and the experts from Chattanooga Flying Disc Club  at Portland Park. This free event is open to all ages and skill levels interested in learning more about this growing sport. We'll cover rules, objectives, scoring, equipment, lingo and course courtesy/safety. Discs available for the group to play the 9-hole course at Portland Park. Advanced reservations requested to have enough discs on hand for everyone in attendance. Inclement weather may cancel. Call 423-643-6888 to RSVP and learn more.

Cumberland Trail Guided Hike
Saturday, January 26 | 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Outdoor Chattanooga  can help you fulfill your new year's resolution to hike more with our Cumberland Trail Hiking Series . The  Cumberland Trail  (CT) is a scenic footpath along the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau that begins on Signal Mountain in Chattanooga's backyard. We want to connect you with this scenic trail, while encouraging stewardship of Chattanooga's local trails by offering 9 different short section hikes (4-7 miles each) throughout the year. On these guided hikes, we'll explore unique geological formations, seasonal flora and fauna, trek over creeks and suspended bridges to the tops of ridges with waterfalls and scenic overlooks. We've carefully selected the one-way hikes to be mostly downhill and will provide a shuttle. Need more incentive to hike? Participants who hike with us will earn credit toward the  50 miler award  from the  Cumberland Trail Conference

The guided hiking series begins January 26 and concludes on December 14, 2019. Registration is required in advance as space is limited. Half day hikes are free. All details are given to participants upon registration. The CT is a remote trail over rugged terrain. We ask participants to have some hiking experience and be in good physical shape to hike 4-7 miles continuously on sections rated as moderately strenuous. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a participating parent or responsible adult. For more info  email Outdoor Chattanooga  or call (423) 643-6888.
Community Events
First Day Hikes at TN State Parks
 Tuesday, January 1 | times vary
Start the new year with a resolution to hike and connect with the outdoors in a Tennessee State Park. Harrison Bay, Booker T. Washington, Cumberland Trail, Red Clay and Hiwassee/Ocoee State Parks are all offering free, guided  First Day Hikes   as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 States. Make a #ResolutionToHike in 2019!

Guided Hike on the Ritchie Hollow Trail
Sat., January 4 | 1 - 4 p.m.
Go on a guided hike and "Gorgeous Adventure" with Tennessee River Gorge Trust's Executive Director, Rick Huffines on the new Ritchie Hollow Trail on Saturday, January 4. Learn about the amazing plants and wildlife that grow in the area in an intimate group setting. Registration is required in advance as space is limited. Cost: $10 per hiker. Please email with any questions.

MLK Day of Service
Monday, January 21 | 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Join the  City of Chattanooga's Office of Multicultural Affairs to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a day of community service. This is their sixth year organizing "A Day on, Not a Day Off" in honor of Dr. King's Legacy. The city will help match volunteer and supplies with projects submitted by citizens and communities spread out over the entire city. Get started by submitting your group, community or organization's service project idea by clicking the link below. And be sure to sign up to volunteer as well and be of service to your community!

Lookout Wild Film Festival
January 24 - 27, 2019
For the past seven years, Lookout Wild Film Festival has brought the best outdoor adventure and conservation films from around the world to Chattanooga for one awesome weekend in January at the Memorial Auditorium.

What can you expect? Enjoy compelling short films and on-screen stories that celebrate wild places and the people they inspire alongside hundreds of other adventure enthusiasts starting Thursday, Jan. 24 through Sunday, Jan. 27.

Local Adventure Spotlight
Sandhill Cranes at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge
January is the peak of the annual Sandhill Crane Migration when thousands of these beautiful birds converge on the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Birchwood, Tennessee, just an hour from Chattanooga. If you haven't witnessed these elegant creatures in person, you should make an effort to this year. Here's what you need to know to try this month's outdoor adventure.
Sandhill cranes  are considered one of North America's tallest birds standing 3-4 feet tall with a wingspan of 6-7 feet. They have long necks, long legs, red heads and bright white cheeks.These cranes have an interesting appearance and a loud trumpet like call, which can carry more than a mile. Sandhill cranes mate for life and the mated pairs stand close together and synchronize to engage in "unison calling". They can live 20 years or more, but have one of the lowest reproductive rates of all North American birds. Only one nest in three produces a chick that survives to migrate in the fall. During the 1800's overhunting and habitat loss nearly wiped out the sandhill crane population in the east. In the early 1990's, the population began recovering and stopping at the Hiwassee Refuge as they traveled to and from the Canadian tundra to their traditional wintering grounds in Georgia and Florida because it provides the perfect combination of wet grasslands, marshes, and grain fields for the cranes to feed and roost. They can be seen in the Southeast from late fall to early spring. Their population is now thriving with an estimated 15,000-20,000 birds.
The  Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge  is 6,000-acres located on Chickamauga Lake at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee rivers, near the site of the historic Blythe Ferry, and includes the 400-acre Hiwassee Island. It's home to the largest winter flock of sandhill cranes in the southeast United States outside of Florida due to the refuge providing the perfect combination of wet grasslands, marshes, and grain fields for the cranes to feed and roost. The refuge is an official stop on the  Tennessee Wildlife Viewing Trail . The refuge lands are closed to visitors between November 15 through the end of February. A  wildlife observation platform  is open year-round for visitors and is a great place to view the sandhill cranes, as well as other bird life.  It's also possible to kayak, canoe, or paddleboard to the Refuge from the  Blythe Ferry boat ramp   to get an up close and personal view of the migrating birds and the natural beauty of the area. (*Note: check local hunting schedules before you make your way onto the water.) 
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA)  will host the 2019  Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival  January 19-20 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day at the Birchwood Community Center in Birchwood, TN. There will be craft and food vendors, music, kids activities, live demonstrations and free bus shuttles from the Birchwood Community Center to the  Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge  and  Cherokee Removal Memorial . There is no public parking at the refuge. Both the memorial and refuge provide great views of Hiwassee Island and the many birds that flock there each winter. For those who are new to sandhill cranes and birding, guides from the Tennessee Ornithological Society and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be on hand with scopes at the refuge to help visitors get an up-close look at the cranes and answer questions. Crane viewing is best in the morning and late afternoon. 
Looking Ahead...Upcoming Events



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