The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation to amend current law that would allow for all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, to ride on Highway 25W in Rocky Top from the intersection of Colonial Lane to the intersection at Jacksboro Avenue beginning July 1, 2016.
“Current legislation allows for ATVs to be operated on State Route 116 from Beech Grove to Highway 25,” said Mike Lovely, Rocky Top mayor. “This amendment would extend the riding area and allow riders from Windrock Park to access the commerce area of Rocky Top.”
Windrock Park is the largest privately owned off-road recreation area in the country with more than 72,000 acres that include off-highway vehicle trails, hiking trails, and mountain biking trails, a press release said. It is also home to the Buffalo Mountain Wind Farm, which is comprised of 18 windmills.
“Thousands of people visit Windrock Park every year,” said Stephanie Wells, Anderson County Tourism Council’s director. “This will allow those visitors to come into the City of Rocky Top, buy gas, eat at restaurants, stay at the hotels, etc., without having to reload their equipment.
“Areas like the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in West Virginia have seen a very positive impact on their economy by giving ATV riders access to their town.”
Riders will also have access to Norris Freeway from Highway 25W to the intersection at 167 Boling Road and Railroad Avenue, which will give riders access to property owned by the City of Rocky Top. The city plans to develop this property for parking.
“This will entice people to open businesses in Rocky Top that will cater to ATV and off-road activities,” said Tim Isbel of Rocky Top Marketing and Manufacturing. “Adventure tourism is one component of our development plan that was initiated with the name change (from Lake City to Rocky Top). The potential development as it relates to ATV activities and our location on Interstate 75, within a day’s drive of 75 percent of the US population, combines to make the perfect environment for future development.”
“Our first priority is safety of our citizens and our visitors,” said City of Rocky Top’s Police Chief Jim Shetterly. “People wishing to ride in town will have to register and receive a permit. They will also be required to follow all safety requirements.”
The City of Rocky Top is in the process of passing an ordinance that will detail all the safety requirement and the procedures for riding through town and onto commercial properties, the press release said.
“In the months leading up to July 1, we will be working on signage and meeting with local businesses to finalize the requirements and procedures for riding in town and onto commercial property,” Lovely said. “We appreciate Representative John Ragan and Senator Randy McNally for sponsoring this legislation and working with our city to create tourism and economic growth opportunities.”
Upon the Governor’s signature, the legislation will go into effect July 1, 2016, the press release said.
For more information, contact the City of Rocky Top at (865) 426-2838 or by email at [email protected].
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