MGTA begins capital campaign with major challenge gift

The Mountain Goat Trail Alliance, in partnership with The Land Trust for Tennessee, has announced a major new capital campaign, with a significant boost from one of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance’s board members.

To kick off the effort, The Ward & Shelley Cammack Family Foundation, Inc. is making a $10,000 challenge gift as recently announced by Alliance board member Ward Cammack and wife Shelley Cammack. “The intent of this gift is to make it contingent upon attracting additional and substantial commitments at this crucial juncture. We want to help make this rails-to-trails conversion a reality by bringing in additional gifts to match that of the Foundation,” Cammack said.

The goal of the campaign, co-chaired by Steve Burnett and Gayle VanHooser, is $83,000. The campaign is focused on raising the funds needed to acquire a majority of the railbed needed to complete the trail between Monteagle and Tracy City, and for operating expenses.

“With the financing for Phase II of the Mountain Goat Trail between Sewanee and Monteagle well in hand, we are focusing our fundraising efforts on Phase III, Monteagle-Tracy City,” MGTA board president Janice Thomas said. “The Cammack Foundation’s challenge gift will allow us to build on the momentum created by our recent successes, and to take one step closer to our goal: completing the Mountain Goat Trail from Cowan to Palmer.”

“We are so pleased to partner on this extraordinary opportunity for the future of the Southern Plateau,” said Jean Nelson, President, The Land Trust for Tennessee.

The Mountain Goat Trail is a rail to trail community outdoor recreation project to convert an abandoned railroad right-of-way into a multi-use recreational corridor between Grundy and Franklin Counties on the Cumberland Plateau. When complete, the trail will extend over 35 miles from Cowan to Palmer along the historic Mountain Goat Railroad, which once brought coal and passengers to and from the Plateau. The trail will connect communities to some of the priceless natural areas including Fiery Gizzard, and provide economic development opportunities and health benefits throughout the area. To learn more about the Mountain Goat Trail or make a donation to the campaign, visit

The Land Trust for Tennessee is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, founded in 1999.  Its mission is to preserve the unique character of Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes for future generations. To date, The Land Trust for Tennessee has protected more than 88,000 acres of land and is working with numerous other landowners across the state. The Land Trust works with willing landowners to find ways to preserve forever the historic, scenic and natural values of their land. The organization is supported primarily by financial contributions from individuals and foundations. The Land Trust has offices in Nashville and Chattanooga. More information is available at or 615-244-5263.


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