By Ken Lay
Knoxville’s newest bike trail was officially opened in a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning.
The city, along with Knox County and the Legacy Parks Foundation, celebrated the grand opening of the Devil’s Racetrack Downhill Trail and two other trails on the bright and humid day.
The Devil’s Racetrack is located at 3700 Lancaster Avenue in South Knoxville and is part of that community’s Urban Wilderness Project. The trail was made possible by a $100,000 grant from Bell Helmet Company. The money was donated to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club.
Knoxville beat out Asheville and San Francisco for the grant by popular vote. The 100-acre parcel on which the park sits was donated by the Wood family.
“I’m happy to be here today and the one thing about this is that we all voted on this,” Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said. “I’m thankful to Bell Helmet Company.
“I remember coming to work and having the employees at my office ask me if I went online to vote. I voted on this as much as I could before they wouldn’t let me vote on it anymore.”
And Burchett wasn’t the only one.
Knoxville City Mayor Madeline Rogero also voted.
“This not only promotes exercise and fitness but it will boost our economy,” said Rogero, who resides on the south end of town. “The people of Knoxville really got behind this.”
“If we can make this a regional biking destination, we can bring $14.6 million into our economy. If we can make this a national biking destination, we can bring $29 million into our economy. Let’s open this trail and see what the Urban Wilderness can bring to Knoxville.”
In addition to opening the Devil’s Racetrack trail, Legacy Parks Foundation opened Best Medicine and Pappy’s Way. The Devil’s Racetrack is a double-black diamond expert-level trail.
Legacy Park official Carol Evans noted that the new trails have something for everyone.
“We built this and we have a back entrance from South-Doyle Middle School, so we could trick the kids into exercising,” Evans said.
The new trails are located on the Baker Creek Reserve.