Thanks for coming to find out more about who we are. We are Wild Trails, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the use, expansion and protection of trails in greater Chattanooga. One may ask how such an organization may have come about. It's quite a story actually.
Our story began with a local independent outdoor retailer committed to using outdoor retail as a platform to encourage outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship and to improve access to the back country. Almost 10 years ago, Matt Sims, a Rock/Creek employee at the time, and avid trail runner, decided it was time for the general public to discover the trails in Chattanooga. It all started with a trail running race called the Rock/Creek River Gorge. The Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k followed shortly after.
As the Rock/Creek River Gorge and StumpJump 50k settled into their respective positions in the early Spring and Fall, Kris and Randy Whorton, with all of their seasoned experience and passion for trail running and building and preserving trails moved to Chattanooga. Quickly discovering all that Chattanooga had to offer the outdoor community and the great unrealized potential for trails in this region, Kris and Randy got to work and haven't really stopped since.
In 2007, Kris and Randy, Dawson Wheeler, Mark McKnight, Matt Sims and Chad Wamack, all with similar vision, founded the Wilderness Trail Running Association, a.k.a., "The Boonies", with a mission to promote the sport of trail running and the the preservation of trails in Chattanooga. The Rock/Creek River Gorge and StumpJump 50k & 11 Mile trail races now growing in popularity were then joined by 6 other trail races. These 8 races became known as the Rock/Creek Trail Series.
With the overwhelming growth of the Rock/Creek Trail Series and expanding workload of the non-profit, in 2009 the board decided to hire their first full time employee. Jonathan Mobley came on board as the Race Director of the Rock/Creek Trail Series and Executive Director of the Wilderness Trail Running Association.
In the months following, the board went through a process of refining its mission and honestly evaluating what would be required to build a sustainable organization committed to promoting outdoor recreation and preserving trails in our region. Trail running will always be our first love, but we realized that the work we were doing on trails was benefiting not just the trail running community but all users of trails. We also realized that to gain the momentum we needed to affect positive change and create a culture of commitment to preservation we needed the support of more than just the trail running community.
Now with a new identity and an expanded mission and vision for the future, we are committed to establishing Wild Trails as an organization that is committed to bringing people together who share a passion for the outdoors and recognize the responsibility we have to protect trails for ours and future generations. Please join us in our efforts.