In this week's Outdoors Issue, we brought you the newsy story of how the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club is covering South Knoxville with trails - all built pretty much on their own time. Well, as it turns out, Gov. Bill Haslam is a big fan too!
Today, at the Legacy Parks Foundation luncheon, AMBC president Brian Hann was given the Four Star Individual Service Award from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association, which was presented personally by Haslam. We gather the award came as somewhat of a shock, as Hann's wife, Mary Beth Tugwell, tweeted, "Surprise award from Governor Haslam!"
As a South Knoxville resident who couldn't mountain bike if her life depended on it, we still couldn't be more excited to have such prestigious trails nearby. Congrats, Mr. Hann!
Full press release from the City of Knoxville follows:
Brian Hann and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club received a state parks and recreation award today at the Legacy Luncheon for their volunteer service to Knoxville parks.The luncheon is a fundraiser for parks and is hosted by the Legacy Parks Foundation, a group who along with Knoxville Parks and Recreation, works closely with Hann and the AMBC.Hann and the AMBC have put thousands of hours into building trails throughout the city, primarily in South Knoxville. In the last two years, they have built an estimated ten miles of unpaved trails between projects at Ijams Nature Center, William Hastie Park, and Fort Dickerson Park.Governor Bill Haslam presented the award to Hann at the Legacy Luncheon today, which was held on the River Bluff property in South Knoxville.The Four Star Individual Service Award came from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association, a group that partners with recreation departments throughout the state each year and names award recipients such as Hann.In his remarks, Governor Haslam pointed out that Hann had even donated an easement of his personal property toward a trail that will soon connect Ijams Nature Center to William Hastie Park.Joe Walsh, Director of Knoxville Parks and Recreation, said both Hann and the AMBC had exceeded his hopes of a volunteer group over the last two years."We nominated Brian and the AMBC because of their dedication to building trails--even through snowy and rainy weather--have completely transformed the identity of these parks," said Walsh. "Thanks to their work, people now have access to reach amenities like the water's edge of the Fort Dickerson Quarry, which previously could only be viewed from an overlook seven stories above the water."Though a club comprised of mountain biking enthusiasts built these trails, Walsh says they are multi-use and open to hikers as well.The AMBC continues to maintain the trails they have built, and have also adopted pre-existing trails such as the one in Sharp's Ridge Park.Earlier this year, the AMBC was recognized by the Metropolitan Planning Commission with an MPC Excellence Award in the Special Use category. Ijams Nature Center also honored them with the 2011 Ijams Spirit Award.Visit http://www.ambc-sorba.org/ to learn more about the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. For maps and information on the new trails in Knoxville built by the AMBC, please visit http://www.cityofknoxville.org/greenways.