How Lula Lake Land Trust is enhancing visitor experience and protecting the landscape
Lula Lake Land Trust
Big changes are coming to Lula Lake Land Trust starting June 30, 2018. Those seeking escape in nature will get a new experience. Visitors will enter the core preserve at the same entrance gate to a new parking/visitor facility that has been recently constructed. This new area has been in LLLT's master plan for fourteen years. The new parking lot is made of recycled material, and it is less than an acre of disturbance. Handicap parking will also continue to be available on a very limited basis. Forgoing the $2/per person donation, there will be a new conservation use fee of $10 per car in order to gain access to the land trust. This fee will go towards replenishing the health of the property from overuse (more details on page 4). A limited number of annual parking passes will be available for a $50 donation. This pass allows frequent users to bypass the check-in or to park in one of the very limited number of parking spaces near the maintenance shed. Handicap parking will also be available on a space available basis near the lake.
LLLT had three options: implement these significant changes, completely close off the property to the public, or continue to allow overcrowding and land deterioration. Given our mission and the values we hold true, the answer is evident. The hike down and the intended use of the meadow area opens up a new experience. It will be more peaceful, more natural, and give people a chance to see so much more of the property than they now just drive through to get to the lake and falls. LLLT wants visitors to feel as though they have the property to themselves, free of traffic noise and overcrowding. This is how one should experience nature—the way it should feel. The experience of being in the wilds of nature is fundamental to who we are. It is our duty to preserve the wonders around us. LLLT hopes you’ll be understanding of how crucial this is and help us respect this beautiful place.
Way back in 2004, Lula Lake Land Trust commissioned an ambitious master plan to help create access to the Core Preserve of Lula Lake. That plan emphasized the “user experience” where visitors would immerse themselves into the woods and return to civilization rewarded and renewed. Beginning June 30, 2018, Lula Lake will take the next step towards realizing this grand plan. Upon entering, cars will be directed to a brand new, 100 space lot just off Lula Lake Road. A “conservation use fee” per car will be assessed - all of which will be returned to land management and restoration. Hikers will descend towards Rock Creek and enjoy a serene walk along an historic railroad grade enshrouded with hemlocks. In 15 minutes or so, hikers will arrive at the soon-to-be restored, Good Shepherd Meadow. Open to the sky and sun, the meadow welcomes folks to sit in the grass, at a picnic table or dangle their toes in the cool waters of Rock Creek. It also becomes a human turnstile where hikers may continue to the lake and falls or disappear into the woods using any one of the 8 miles of trails leading to the bluff, an old homestead, and along the creek. And yes, all trails eventually lead to the majestic Lula Lake and Falls.
We hope you will enjoy this new journey of land protection and appropriate use. It’s been in the works for over a decade!
“There are some good things to be said about walking…. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.”
Lula Lake Land Trust
is a sight to behold!
Michael Pollock Executive Director
Matthew Hubbard Director of Development & Communications
Patrick Kelly Land Manager
Kathryn Franklin Environmental Education & Volunteer Coordinator
Cover photo courtesy of Michelle Warren, Rock Creek Aviation | www.rockcreekaviation.com
Lula Lake &
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Good Shepherd Meadow
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The 17-mile long Chickamauga and Durham railroad was completed in 1892 to transport coal from the Durham Mines on Lookout Mountain along Rock Creek to Chickamauga. The railroad traveled right by Lula Lake and the top of Lula Falls. The current road to the falls and the lake follows the old railroad bed.
Letter from the
New Parking System
In the past 24 years, LLLT has conserved over 8,000 acres on Lookout Mountain, doubled the size of Cloudland Canyon State Park, and built nearly 60 miles of recreational trails spanning private, conservation, and state owned lands.
The classic trail route packed all of the beautiful features of Lula Lake Land Trust into one hike. Now, the new experience route begins at the entrance gate. Visitors are getting a new experience when they arrive at the core preserve. The approach trail, formerly the gravel road, offers beautiful scenery. You’ll see historic features as well as flora and fauna as you embark on your journey. At the first bend, you’ll see a historic railroad trestle on your right, dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Rock Creek babbles to your right, welcoming you to nature. You’ll see rock walls, springs, and a grove of Hemlock trees. This experience allows you to slowly immerse yourself in the experience of Lula Lake Land Trust. You’ll arrive to Good Shepherd Meadow in harmony with nature and feel the calmness of a beautifully restored landscape. The hike from the new parking lot to the meadow is a leisurely, easy walk of 15-20 minutes (0.75 miles). From the meadow to Lula Lake and Lula Falls, it’s 0.75 miles (15-20 minutes).
To continue on to our “New” Classic hiking route, cross the foot bridge and take a left onto Middle Trail. Hike Middle Trail for 1.1 miles to the top of the Bluff. Here you will have a great view of Chattanooga Valley. Head North on Bluff Trail until you reach the Gravel Road. Head North again and hike to Lula Falls Trail. (If you find yourself at this point and it is 4:30 or later, please do not hike to the bottom of the falls, you will not have enough time to enjoy the bottom of the falls before closing.) Lula Falls Trail will take you to the bottom of Lula Falls. If you want to get a workout you can take the Old Falls Trail back up to the gravel road or the friendly option of retracing your steps back up the Lula Falls Trail to the gravel road. From the gravel road you will hike south for 0.75 miles passing Lula Lake and the Exit Rd back to Good Shepherd Meadow and up to the parking lot.
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The New Experience
dangle their toes in the cool waters of Rock Creek. It also becomes a human turnstile where hikers may continue to the lake and falls or disappear into the woods.
According to the 2004 master plan, The Good Shepherd Meadow was never intended to serve as a parking area. For years that is what we’ve let it become. In late June, Land Manager Patrick Kelly and Assistant Land Manager, Matt Heath will begin the restoration of this area, creating a single pathway to the foot bridge, building a retaining wall to contain the creek and mitigate the current erosion patterns, and replant native prairie grass throughout. Incidentally, we will painstakingly be harvesting seeds from existing grass for this project - no small feat. Then we let nature take over. When water intermittently breaches the banks, soils are deposited and held in place by grass which helps cover exposed tree roots with new soil. With help from volunteer groups and a proposed (yet unfunded) youth stewardship program, this project should take 2-3 years to complete.
When hikers arrive, open to the sky and sun, the meadow will welcome folks to sit in the grass, at a picnic table or
Did You Know...
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Director of Development & Communications
Lula Lake Land Trust has 13 trails, totaling about 8 miles. When you check in with LLLT at the parking lot, you 'll receive a core preserve map detailing the property. All trails are marked with signposts (see left). Our favorite trail route is the Adventure Loop. It's a moderate hike of 6.5 miles that combines adventure with all of the beautiful features of LLLT into one hike. Starting from the parking area, you'll travel the gravel path down to Good Shepherd Meadow. Cross the footbridge to the right of the gravel path and take a right on South Creek Trail and hike. Then take a right on Turkey Trail and then a left on Bluff Trail. Continue straight to High Adventure Trail and take a right on the gravel path. Take a left on Lula Falls Trail and trek to the base of the lower Lula Falls. Take a left on Old Falls Trail. At the top, turn right on the gravel path. Take a left on the Connector Trail, and then a right on North Creek Trail. Right on Ford Trail. Left on gravel path to continue on to the parking area.
It seems like yesterday when I visited Lula Lake Land Trust for the first time. Do you remember yours? I can still recall that magical moment when I hiked down to Lula Falls. Being surrounded by the sheer force of the waterfall gave me a sense of awe. It was truly a life-changing moment. It stuck with me, bringing me back time and time again…and now I’m a staff member. The experience of being in the wilds of nature is fundamental to who we are, just like that moment of awe I felt all those years ago. That’s why I’m fighting every day for Lula Lake’s core values — conservation, education, and recreation. Donations of any amount help us preserve natural and historic landscapes through conservation, education, and low impact recreation. Tomorrow’s generation will thank you for preserving the land today. You can show your support for this beautiful place by going to bit.ly/supportlulalake or mail in your donation to PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350.
My First Lula Lake Experience
Lula Lake is beautiful, but there’s no swimming. LLLT strives to preserve the water quality and view-
shed around the lake itself.
Lula Falls flows over a 120-foot bluff and hides a sandstone “cave,” which has been noted in many historic records from the battles of the Civil War.
Why we support Lula Lake
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One of the most positive developments that has emerged from the growth the Chattanooga area is experiencing is an increased awareness of the immeasurable value of our natural resources.
The natural and historic landscapes that surround us are a visible reminder of the unique place we call home. Lookout Mountain is the centerpiece of this precious landscape, with Lula Lake and Rock Creek at the heart of it all.
From a real estate perspective, it goes without saying that conservation of natural resources is key to protecting long-term value for homeowners. The protection of our natural landscapes is a critical element of the unique mix of economic opportunity and quality of living that has attracted so many people to our region.
Lula Lake Land Trust’s efforts toward mindful conservation, expansion of low-impact recreational opportunities, and the creation of engaging educational initiatives are of immense value to our community. My entire team is extremely proud to support them in all they do.
Jay Robinson Owner/Founder The Robinson Team of Keller Williams Realty
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READ FULL DETAILS ONLINE AT WWW.LULALAKE.ORG BEFORE VISITING
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OCT 6-7, 27-28
NOV 3-4, 24-25
JUNE 2-3, 30
JULY 1, 7-8, 28-29
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P.O. Box 395
Lookout Mountain, TN 37350
OPEN GATE DAYS
How Lula Lake Land Trust is enhancing visitor experience and protecting the landscape
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Same Beauty, New Experience