Where do I start and what do I say…
On January 3, 2017, I started my article like this…I’m So Excited, I Just Can’t Hide It…and included this within my article…
I ended 2016 and starting 2017 with a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. As much as I enjoyed my travels and the beautiful state of Virginia, I am excited about 2017 and what our community is doing.
Walker County seems to be at the place where everyone is working together to get things happening in and around our small towns. Everywhere I go and everyone I talk to is talking about what is happening this year in Walker County. For the first time in years, I am putting things to do in 2017 on my calendar in Walker County besides work schedules and events.
If feels good to know we are becoming a community where people want to travel, sight see and spend time in the great outdoors.
Walker County has a wealth of natural beauty and resources that fit into numerous outdoor activities. We have hidden treasures that are beginning to be shared and enjoyed by many.
So yes, I am so excited and I just can’t hide it!!! I am ready to walk, run and bike all over this place! My New Year’s Resolution is to “Bloom where I am planted and to water those others around me”!
As of today, I had to start writing about “Where do I start and what do I say…” See, I spent the last day of 2016 in Charlottesville, VA bringing in the New Year on our journey to Williamsburg, VA. We stayed the night, toured, hiked and enjoyed the beauty of this community. I was heartbroken to hear what evil and hurtful events happened in this beautiful city in August of this year. And then to see what happened just days ago in Las Vegas, NV. For the first time this year, my husband and I visited Las Vegas in February. We had just kicked off the New Year in Charlottesville, VA and then just over a month later, we spent several days in Las Vegas and were excited about all we were able to do and see including the drive to the Grand Canyon. It was such a beautiful and friendly place with all the outdoor scenery to keep us engaged for days. We don’t gamble, so we didn’t even try that. However, I did come out 5 cents ahead because I found a nickel in the airport on the way home and filled my mind with all things beautiful!
So as I was preparing for a write up of all things positive in North West Georgia, really bad things have happened in our country. But here is where I will begin. While not everyone like the same activities, we all benefit from all the beauty that sits in and surrounds our area. We have different desires, but we are one community. We are different races, religions, sex, ages, etc., but we all live in the same community and have decided to call it HOME. Where I might not touch on what you like to do, include doing nothing, I will share the things I like to do and the changes I love to see happening.
First Ironman comes through my county, Walker County, 3 times a year now and where it is not everyone’s idea of a wonderful event, I think it is great. I am thrilled IronMan loves our community. The athletes love our people, our views and surroundings and they love to ride here. Where it can be an inconvenience to some due to slowing traffic, it is such a benefit to our families and especially our youth to see there is more to life than drugs and alcohol. I have ridden with young people that are encouraged by watching these athletes and are training for the time when they turn 18 and can participate in this International event locally here in Walker County. I would say it is one of the biggest pluses in addition to our locals that train to participate because this event is here in our community. Some would not be able to participate if they had to pay the cost of travel. So besides our own residents getting a tremendous healthy benefit, our businesses exceed normal activities and sales. I witnessed myself the purchases and food sold throughout Walker County in the range of the biking route.
From a newsletter written by Joe Legge of the Walker County Commissioner’s office,
“Ironman events returned to Walker County this month, including the Ironman 70.3 World Championship showcase event. 91 countries, regions and territories were represented by the 4,500 competitors taking part in the two day race. Nearly three times that many visitors came to the area to experience the event.
This was the first time in four years the Ironman 70.3 World Championship had been on U.S. soil, although several qualifiers have taken place here. Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield welcomed the triathletes to Walker County, providing them with a brief overview of what they could expect along the 56-mile bike course.
Cyclists entered the county on Red Riding Hood Trail, near Rock City Gardens, turned left onto Lula Lake Road, road about 15 miles and then cut over to Highway 341, via Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway/Highway 136.
The route took cyclists through downtown Chickamauga, past Gordon Lee Mansion and Coke Ovens. Triathletes then ventured up Highway 341, before turning right onto Highway 193 and heading back into Chattanooga.
The event provided great exposure for Walker County, considering competitors came from hundreds of miles away. 279 made the trek from California, 264 from Canada, 232 from Australia, 213 from the United Kingdom and 151 from Florida. This competition will also be broadcast on television later this year, giving others the opportunity to soak in the stunning scenery of Walker County.
From a direct economic standpoint, it’s unclear just how much Walker County benefits financially from Ironman events. The last study done by UTC on the economic impact of Ironman lumped Walker County together with Chattanooga and Hamilton County, providing no individual breakdown.
All emergency personnel expenses are reimbursed, the Ironman Foundation gave the county’s disaster assistance group (COAD) a $2,000 grant and the nearly dozen or so school and community groups that volunteer receive between $200 and $1,000 for their organizations. Bookings at Mountain Cove Farms also receive a boost during Ironman events.
The five-year contract with Ironman runs through 2018, with the potential to extend. The next regional event takes place May 20, 2018.”
As far as my opinion, we are blessed to have such an international outdoor event in our area and I hope to see it encourage all ages to get out and enjoy our beauty!
And now we hit October in full fall blast!!! Here in our North West Georgia Mountains and Valleys, there are activities galore. Just this weekend, you could choose between Harvest Day’s in LaFayette, to Rocktoberfest at Rock City or over to Cloudland Canyon for Fall-Fun Hayrides, just to mention a few of the activities. The next couple of months will be filled with festivals, fairs, food and football here in the South!
So as I was preparing for a write up of “all things positive” in North West Georgia counties, we had the horrific shootings in Las Vegas and I was saddened, confused and heartbroken for this kind of evil in our country. It took me days to be able to write about “positive things” in such a week of great loss, but I know that it is important to stay hopeful and helpful in these difficult times. The one thing I can do is share a positive attitude while sharing the exciting positive events happening around us. We don’t stop, we continue on and I am thankful for that. I will pray for those involved and effected by this tragic action as so many others are doing. They will not be forgotten, but evil will not win. That battle has already been won. Just a thought… 1 Peter 3:9. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. And enjoy the fall, ya’ll! Article written and submitted by Lisa J Heyer, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Jackson Realty, Broker/ Owner