Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) announced Friday a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will be used to design mountain bike and hiking trails along a section of the Foothills Parkway in Cocke County.
The goal is to transform an area along the stretch between Cosby and I-40 to help increase tourism and economic development in Cocke County.
“Cocke County is one of Tennessee’s most economically distressed counties, and these mountain bike and hiking trails will bring more of the 12 million visitors who come to the Smokies each year to Cocke County, which will increase tourism and economic development opportunities in the county,” Alexander said.
Alexander said he has worked with the state and fellow lawmakers to develop more trails in the underdeveloped section of the Foothills Parkway, saying those ideas will now become a reality.
“Cocke County is very grateful to the Appalachian Regional Commission for this award. We are so appreciative to the vision and foresight of Sen. Lamar Alexander, our state leaders, the Conservation Fund, the Cherokee National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This collective effort will benefit Cocke County for decades to come,” Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger and Partnership President Lucas Graham said.