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Unaka Bike Park new spoke in Unicoi County's outdoor tourism offering
July 17, 2022

ERWIN, TN -- When you talk “economic development” in Unicoi County the discussion must include outdoor tourism. When you talk Unicoi County the word “Unaka” must be included. The newest landmark to bear the name Unaka is the Unaka Bike Park.

unaka bike park
Unaka Bike Park

The Cherokee Indians named the mountains Unaka (“White”), probably in reference to a persistent white haze or to some white rock formations. Often the name Unaka is applied specifically to those peaks in Avery and Mitchell counties of North Carolina and in Unicoi and Carter counties of Tennessee, but no one has claimed the name more proudly than Real. Wild. Unicoi County! The county claims it again with the opening of the newest mountain bike park in the region, Unaka Bike Park.

The Joint Economic Development Board of Unicoi County had the vision to add another spoke in the wheel of its leadership in mountain adventures several years ago and thanks to citizen involvement and a partnership with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Trail Solutions a new, inclusive biking experience is now ready for the pedals of visitors and locals alike.

“We have taken the beauty of what we were given and turned it into a destination for visitors from across the five-state region and an asset that merchants here can enjoy with visitor purchases to grow our tax base,” says Lee Brown, Chairman of the Joint Unicoi County Economic Development Board. “Beyond manufacturing, new homes, and new businesses located in the county, amenities such as the Unaka Bike Park are an important part of our economic development strategy.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Unicoi County could credit nearly $17,000,000 in sales to tourism just before the pandemic and the Unaka Bike Park is a cog in driving new interest in the county as consumers seek new, exciting adventures in a post-pandemic world. IMBA predicts that Unaka Bike Park could represent a $1.3 million annual impact in increased tourism dollars to the local economy. For locals, especially children and teens, the park offers another opportunity to step away from screen time and experience the great outdoors.

Unaka Bike Park is less than a mile from Downtown Erwin and just over a mile from I-26. This first phase of the park includes two trails - one designed to accommodate beginner bikers and hikers and one gravity trail for more progressive bikers. The second phase of the park will add additional mileage of advanced mountain biking trails and hiking trail access to the top of the property.

The Unaka Bike Park is one more opportunity to come and experience Real, Wild, Unicoi County.

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