- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2020

HARTFORD, Tenn. (AP) - A $6 million federal grant will help build 50 to 75 miles of mountain bike trails in East Tennessee.

A news release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander says the Appalachian Regional Commission grant aims to encourage more people who visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park to come through Cocke County.

“Cocke County is one of the most economically distressed counties in Tennessee and this investment will help increase the tourism industry in Cocke County by bringing more of the 12 million visitors who come to Smokies each year and the 3 million visitors who come to the Cherokee National Forest each year to the area,” Alexander said in the news release.

The new trails are in the Cherokee National Forest. Alexander says officials are also moving ahead with mountain bike trails on the Foothills Parkway right-of-way in Sevier County.

Alexander, Gov. Bill Lee and other officials announced the grant Monday in Hartford.

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