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New trails to open at William Hastie Natural Area
August 2, 2022

william hastie natural area
William Hastie Natural Area trail; Knoxville Daily Sun staff

KNOXVILLE -- City officials, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club members and a wide array of outdoor recreation enthusiasts will cut a ribbon on Thursday, Aug. 4, to celebrate and officially open four new trails at William Hastie Natural Area.

The addition of two more miles to Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness network of hiking and mountain bike trails was a collaborative project between the City, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, volunteer and professional trail builders and Harper Auto Square, which matched $20,000 in donations to make the construction possible.

In less than a year, seven professional builders, more than 150 AMBC volunteers and City crews completed the development of the 27-acre tract, based on input from stakeholder groups.

“The addition of these four trails will change the way neighbors and visitors use William Hastie Natural Area, and the improved trailheads give legitimacy to the natural area that AMBC started building over 10 years ago,” AMBC Executive Director Matthew Kellogg said.

More than 300 donors contributed to the purchase of the property, with the City of Knoxville funding $100,000, roughly half the purchase investment.

The City will assume ownership of the William Hastie expansion and will manage its maintenance as part of the enlarged City park. AMBC funded and built the new trails with the assistance of volunteer and professional builders and the City’s greenways crew.

Mayor Indya Kincannon has called William Hastie and the entire Urban Wilderness “wonderful and unrivaled natural gems” and touted the collaboration that led to the quick build-out of trails into the new area.

The new 0.4-mile Spingarn Trail is a beginner level trail, an all-weather multi-use loop accessible from the parking lots. AMBC volunteers spent weeks pulling invasive plants from the lowlands to open up the forest floor. The City crew surfaced the trail.

Mitchie’s Way, a 0.6-mile intermediate level trail on the north side of the natural area, was designed and built to be optimized for hiking.

Two other trails, the Third Circuit and Sugar & Rum trails – both 0.4 miles long – are rated as “most difficult.” Both were professionally hand-built. Third Circuit, completed with help from AMBC volunteers, is a directional downhill mountain bike trail. Sugar & Rum, worked on by more than 120 volunteers, is optimized for downhill bike traffic with future phases to include steps for uphill hiker and runner traffic.

Vee Hollow in Townsend matched donations for the land purchase, while Harper Auto Square donated $20,000 toward construction. AMBC contracted with C2 Recreation to develop the trail plan.

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