Ironman 70.3 Event Returns to Walker County This Weekend

Chickamauga, GA – Walker County welcomes over 3,800 athletes to the area for this Sunday’s IRONMAN 70.3 event.

A majority of the 56-mile bicycle portion of the triathlon will once again trek through Walker County.  Cyclists will enter Walker County on Highway 193, where a new “Walker County Welcomes You” sign will greet them.

Athletes will soak in some incredible views as they travel about 18 miles south before cutting across Andrews Lane to get to Hog Jowl Road.  They will then pedal another 12 miles up Cove Road/Highway 341 until reaching downtown Chickamauga, where family, friends and other spectators will line the streets and sidewalks to greet them.

After leaving Chickamauga by way of Chickamauga Road, IRONMAN competitors will reconnect with Highway 193 and navigate back into Chattanooga.

The race begins with the swimming portion at 6:50 a.m.  The first athlete is expected to reach the finish line by 10:30 a.m.  Spectators wanting to watch the bicycle portion from downtown Chickamauga should be in place prior to 10:00 a.m. to see the first group ride through.

Last month, the IRONMAN Foundation announced a $160,000 grant to help install 40 new fire hydrants in needed locations.  The community investment will provide additional coverage for Walker County first responders to handle emergency situations.

IRONMAN 70.3 May 2019

Walker Rocks Outdoor Series Kicks Off with Family Campout at Mountain Cove Farms

Chickamauga, GA – Imagine a summer filled with camping, hiking, fishing and watersports with some music, movies and good eats mixed in.  The newly launched Walker Rocks Outdoor Series blends these experiences to make some of Walker County’s leading outdoor attractions more accessible to the general public.

The series kicks off with the Family Campout at Mountain Cove Farms (994 Dougherty Gap Road, Chickamauga) on Saturday, May 25th.  Load up your vehicle and head to the Cove for an afternoon of campground music and field day style games, like three-legged races, sack races and kickball.  Campers can also relax by the campfire while making s’mores and catch a special showing of the 80’s adventure movie The Goonies.

“This is a family friendly event that offers a unique opportunity for parents with young children to try out camping and see what it’s like to sleep outdoors,” said Lacey Wilson, Chamber President.  “We also see this as a staycation of sorts for folks looking for something unique to do with their family over the holiday weekend.”

Set up for tent camping begins at 2:00 p.m.  A vehicle parking pass gets you inside for all activities.  The cost is just $5 per vehicle in advance online at walkerrocks.com or $10 cash the day of the event.  Food, drinks and popcorn will also be available on site to purchase.

The Walker Rocks Outdoor Series continues later this summer with the following events:

  • Family Camp Out at Mountain Cove Farms on May 25
  • Kayak & Canoe Day at Lee & Gordon’s Mill on June 22
  • Trivia Scavenger Hunt at Lula Lake on July 13
  • Dive-in Movie and Such at Queen City Lake on August 17
  • Fright Night Camp Out at Magnolia Pines on September 13
  • Duck Pond Rodeo at the Rossville Duck Pond – TBA

Ironman Foundation and Walker County Team Up to Provide Emergency Resources to Local Community

Tampa, FL/LaFayette, GA – The IRONMAN Foundation® will provide a $160,000 grant over the course of five years to Walker County in advance of the Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN® 70.3® Chattanooga presented by McKee: A Family Bakery on May 19 and the Little Debbie IRONMAN® Chattanooga presented by McKee: A Family Bakery on September 29. The community grant will help install 40 new fire hydrants in needed locations, providing additional coverage for Walker County first responders to handle emergency situations.

“It is the mission of the IRONMAN Foundation to create positive, tangible impact in our race communities through grant funding and volunteerism,” said Sarah Hartmann, Executive Director of the IRONMAN Foundation. “With this partnership, we are able to directly impact the safety of Walker County residents. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Walker County and honored to support the community.”

“We are honored and delighted to continue hosting IRONMAN events in Walker County,” said Shannon Whitfield, Walker County Commissioner. “This prestigious and global event provides us with an outstanding opportunity to showcase our beautiful county. We appreciate our IRONMAN partners making this investment in our community.”

IRONMAN athletes will experience the beauty of Walker County as they ride through the area on the bike course for both Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee A Family Bakery and Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga presented by McKee A Family Bakery. This bike course was voted as one of the top 10 courses on both the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 global circuit in the 2017 and 2018 Athlete Choice Awards.

“IRONMAN provides a valuable economic benefit to Walker County far beyond just this investment,” added Robert Wardlaw, Economic & Community Development Director for Walker County. “We have already enjoyed numerous return visits from previous IRONMAN athletes who eat, shop and stay in Walker County. They have all discovered why Walker Rocks!”

The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund provides community and volunteerism grant opportunities to non-profit organizations where IRONMAN and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series® events are held. This year’s grant funding brings the total giveback to more than $633,000 in the Chattanooga and North Georgia regions. In 2019 the IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than $1.7 million in grant funding to support the needs of IRONMAN race communities across North America.

For more information on IRONMAN and the IRONMAN Foundation, please visit www.ironman.com and www.ironmanfoundation.org.

About Walker County, Georgia

Walker County, GA is part of the thriving Chattanooga, TN-GA MSA, featuring a population of more than 68,000 people.  The county, formed in 1833, is also home to some of the most scenic and stunning outdoor adventure destinations in the Southeast, including Rock City, Lula Lake and Pettyjohn’s Cave.  The county boasts a labor force in excess of 31,000 workers with nearly 39% of local jobs in the service industry. To learn more, visit: walkercountyga.gov and walkerrocks.com.

About the IRONMAN Foundation 

The IRONMAN Foundation® creates positive, tangible change in race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to community. Since 2003, over $50,000,000 has been provided through IRONMAN charitable giveback programs including the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 7,800 local, regional, national and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series athletes are powerfully linked to the community and together we leave the IRONMAN legacy behind in our race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including Team IMF, Community Fund, Rock This Town, Your Journey Your Cause, and Women For Tri, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.

About IRONMAN 

As part of Wanda Sports Holdings, the IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, trail running like Ultra-Trail Australia™, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Wanda Sports Holdings 

Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.

Mountain Cove Farms Resort Named ‘Best of the Best’ for 2019

Chickamauga, GA – Customer service, hospitality and communication have rejuvenated Walker County’s Mountain Cove Farms Resort.  Along with a boost in nightly stays at the cabins and Cove House, the resort has become a favorite among brides who yearn to capture a truly unique experience for the wedding of their dreams.

Voters across Catoosa, Dade, Gordon, Murray, Walker and Whitfield counties have taken notice, choosing Mountain Cove Farms Resort as the top wedding venue in the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ North Georgia Best of the Best for 2019.

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“Under new management, the staff at Mountain Cove Farms Resort has worked tirelessly over the past two years to provide guests with a memorable experience,” said Commissioner Shannon Whitfield.  “I commend our team members for their commitment to friendly, helpful service.  Without them, the resort would not be where it is today.”

“When a bride arrives at Mountain Cove Farms Resort, she’s instantly mesmerized by the natural charm of this truly special place.  They have often driven for miles searching for a hidden gem and the picturesque views here in Walker County have no rival,” said Jenna Stevens, Resort Manager.  “We have a small, strong team fully committed to achieving a successful event, while sharing a milestone with families, who in the end feel like part of our family.”

Along with weddings, Mountain Cove Farms Resort hosts the Forever Bluegrass Festival twice a year and the Mountain Cove Classic Disc Golf Tournament, among other events.  Nightly stays at the resort have also jumped 460% over the past two years, from 162 in 2016 to 908 in 2018.

Reservations can be made online at mountaincoveresort.com, through Expedia and Airbnb, or by calling 706-539-2683.  Mountain Cove Farms Resort is nestled in the valley between Lookout Mountain and Pigeon Mountain.

“Walker Rocks” Visionary Honored with Chamber Award

Rock Spring, GA – Everywhere he goes, Robert Wardlaw takes the message of why Walker Rocks with him.  His excitement for Walker County’s abundance of exhilarating outdoor experiences knows no equal.

Appointed by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield last March to serve as the county’s Economic and Community Development Director, Wardlaw began examining quality of life issues important to business and industry.  Following a recreational hike on Lookout Mountain last spring, he started developing a vision to grow the county’s sales tax base by showcasing its environmental wonders.

After months of planning behind the scenes, Walker Rocks emerged in late June.  The partnership between Walker County Government and the Walker County Chamber of Commerce serves as a platform to encourage outdoor enthusiasts to make the Walker County trip to go hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and caving, among other activities.

During the Walker County Chamber’s Annual Dinner, Wardlaw was honored as the 2018 Chamber Member of the Year.  The award comes on the heels of Northwest Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association recognizing Walker Rocks with the 2018 Award for Association Excellence for Best Marketing Campaign.

As word continues to spread about Walker County’s exciting options for tourists, bookings at locations like Mountain Cove Farms Resort and sales tax revenue have grown.  In fact, there was an $88,519 increase in sales tax revenue from July-November last year when compared to the same period in 2017.

The Walker Rocks team continues to explore options to grow the tourism brand in 2019.  Several exciting announcements are planning in the months to come.

Open Gate Days at Lula Lake Land Trust Move to Reservation System

Lookout Mountain, GA – You now need a reservation to visit one of Walker County’s most popular recreational attractions. Beginning February 23rd, Lula Lake Land Trust will use a new online reservation system to grant access to Open Gate Days.

85 parking spots will be available via the online reservation system located on the events page at LulaLake.org. Lula Lake officials hope this new reservation system will provide the public with a better opportunity to schedule their visit and provide updates on availability for each Open Gate Day event.

“We want Lula Lake lovers to know that we’ve heard you,” said Matthew Hubbard, Director of
Development. “We understand you want to visit this beautiful piece of nature. That’s why we
feel a reservation system for Open Gate Days will ensure each and every person a fair chance at visiting Lula Lake Land Trust.”

With the construction of a new, eco-friendly parking last summer, Lula Lake limited the number of visitors at any given time in order to rehabilitate the land from overuse.

Lula Lake is only open to the public on Open Gate Days. December through April, Open Gate Days occur on the first and last Saturday of each month. May through November, Open Gate Days occur on the first and last weekend of each month. The cost to visit is $15 per car, which is a conservation use fee that goes back into the preservation of Lula Lake. Buses, passenger vans and extra-large vehicles will not be permitted due to capacity restrictions.

How Walker Works – Mountain Cove Farms

http://walkercountyga.gov/category/podcast/feed

Nestled in the valley between Lookout Mountain and Pigeon Mountain sits Mountain Cove Farms Resort. This quaint retreat provides the perfect location for those looking for a weekend getaway or special events like weddings and festivals.

The resort offers a variety of accommodations.  “We have seven cottages, that sleep eight people that have been fully renovated on the inside,” said Jenna Stevens, Manager.

There’s also a big rustic lodge, known as the Cove House, that sleeps 16 people.  There is also an RV park that features 29 sites with water and electricity and an area to tent camp.

In addition, an 18-hole championship level disc golf course provides visitors with an onsite activity and the Country Store will keep you supplied during your stay.  Stevens added, “We have your basic necessities of what you would need if you were camping or staying in a cabin, or if you’re just driving down to see the view we have Cokes and snacks.”

Reservations can be made online at mountaincoveresort.com, through Expedia and Air bnb, or by calling 706-539-2683.

Walker County & City of LaFayette Recognized for Tourism Efforts

Cartersville, GA – Walker County’s growing reputation as an outdoor adventure destination just received a boost from regional travel industry professionals.  Northwest Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association (HHCTA) recognized Walker Rocks with the 2018 Award for Association Excellence for Best Marketing Campaign.

Walker Rocks, a partnership between the Walker County Chamber of Commerce and Walker County Government, highlights the scenic and stunning destinations available in the county for rock climbing, caving, kayaking, hiking, biking and other outdoor experiences.  The campaign launched with the creation of videos highlighting local attractions, a start-up grant competition to encourage business growth in the tourism industry and the introduction of walkerrocks.com and several social media platforms, among other efforts.

“It’s thrilling to know that others in the region are taking note of what we have to offer here in Walker County,” said Lacey Wilson, President of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce.  “The Chamber is proud to be part of the collaborative team working to showcase and share the assets of this community with the rest of the world.”

Robert Wardlaw, Economic & Community Development Director for Walker County Government, said “This validates the valuable role tourism plays in our community.  Six months in and we’re already seeing an increase in sales tax revenue and a boost in occupancy at area accommodations.”  Wardlaw added, “Walker Rocks is fun, but Walker Rocks is also an economic initiative to help bring equity to our tax base, which in turn helps our citizens.”

HHCTA, which is comprised of travel industry professionals from a 17-county area, also honored one of Walker County’s cities for its tourism efforts.  HHCTA named the City of LaFayette’s Honeybee Festival as Best Event and LaFayette Mayor Andy Arnold as Tourism Advocate of the Year.

Walker Rocks with Full Weekend of Fall Events

Walker County will be buzzing with activity this weekend, as the county plays host to a variety of memory making events.

The activities begin with the BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) tour on Friday. This three-day bicycle ride begins in Chattanooga and ends in Atlanta, after rolling through the Chattanooga Valley, Chickamauga, Rock Spring and LaFayette. Georgia recently joined the U.S. Bicycle Route System by designating a system of roads and trails as US Bike Route 21. The route will showcase some of the scenic and stunning valley and mountain vistas available for outdoor enthusiasts in Walker County. Click here to see the BRAG route

Ag Festival4H students, farmers and the agriculture community step into the action Saturday at the 2nd annual Walker County Ag Festival. The one-day event takes place rain or shine from 9am to 5pm at the Ag Center on the Civic Center Campus in Rock Spring. Along with rabbit, goat and poultry shows, residents will compete to earn blue ribbons for baking, growing fruits and vegetables, gardening, quilting and other talents. Inflatables, music, a Georgia grown cooking class, beekeepers, arts and craft vendors and other events highlight the festival. Walker County Emergency Services will also be on hand to register residents to receive a free smoke alarm, which they will install. Click here to see the schedule of events

Blowing Springs FarmOther events Saturday add to the excitement. (Now opening Sunday due to wet conditions) See Rock City, Inc.’s Blowing Springs Farm opens will an all-new corn maze design, plus super-sized board games, hayrides, duck races, pedal carts and more. The attraction is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday – Sunday through October 28th. (This attraction is now opening Sunday due to wet conditions)

The Rock Spring Show and Sell Arts & Craft Show at Rock Spring United Methodist Church and Georgia’s “Your State Park” Day are also Saturday.

Sunday brings the return of Ironman. Competitors from around the world will pedal their way through Walker County for the bike portion of the triathlon. Chickamauga serves as a main staging spot for spectators to watch athletes as they cycle through town. Gordon Street will be closed, but many downtown merchants will be open and several food vendors will set up shop for the day. Spectators can line up and down Cove Road and Lee Avenue to experience the action. The 116-mile bike portion of the race begins in Chattanooga and the first athletes are expected in Chickamauga around 10:00 a.m.