The following is a press release from Lula Lake Land Trust.
Lula Lake Land Trust (LLLT) continues to draw crowds on their Open Gate Days. With the construction of a new, eco-friendly parking last summer, LLLT limited the number of visitors at any given time in order to rehabilitate the land from overuse. What was once crawling with 1,000+ individuals, the core preserve is now limited to less than 500. While this limitation in visitors provides a more immersive experience into nature, it has led to adventure seekers being turned way when the parking lot is at full capacity.
LLLT officials thought of ways to better include the public with Open Gate Days and reduce guess-work of visitors attempting to find parking. A new reservation system will be implemented beginning with the Open Gate Day event scheduled for February 23. A total of 85 parking spots will be up for grabs via the online reservation system located at www.LulaLake.org/events. This first reservation-based Open Gate Day event is sponsored by Chattanooga Brewing Company (CBC), a local, outstanding brewery and taproom located in downtown Chattanooga. Each reservation comes with a beer token for a free pint at (CBC) after adventurers finish their hike.
The ultimate goal of this new reservation system is to better provide the public with an opportunity to schedule their visit and provide updates on availability for each Open Gate Day event. With this being the second shift in parking structure in the last year, LLLT feels this will eliminate stress not only for visitors but also for staff; LLLT only has a permanent staff of three. The small staff has seen first-hand how popular Lula Lake and Lula Falls has become, and they have learned—and better yet—are adapting to how they address the core preserve’s surge in popularity. Visitor trends will be analyzed moving forward in order to increase visitor capacity on Open Gate Days.
“We want Lula Lake lovers to know that we’ve heard you,” says 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.”
Winter operation is from December through April, and Open Gate Days occur on the first and last Saturday of each month; exact dates are listed online at www.LulaLake.org. Saturday hours are 9:00a – 3:30p. All visitors must exit the property by 5:00 PM ET. Reservations are booked in advance on a first-come, first-served basis. Cancellations and refunds can occur anytime up to 48 hours prior to the Open Gate Day event. A wait list will be established should cancellations take place. There will be a $15.00 per car Conservation Use Fee for the reservation, and 100% of the proceeds go back into the preservation of Lula Lake. One reservation equals one parking space—buses, passenger vans, and extra-large vehicles will not be permitted due to capacity restrictions. Handicap parking will also continue to be available on a limited basis. Groups must call our office at 706-820-0520 in advance to arrange a visit. Please visit www.LulaLake.org and read the Open Gate Day instructions and FAQs to better plan your adventure.
About Lula Lake Land Trust
Lula Lake Land Trust, established by the will of Robert M. Davenport in January of 1994, seeks to protect and preserve the natural and historic landscapes surrounding Rock Creek and Bear Creek, and their tributaries, through conservation, education, and low impact recreation. The Trust seeks to create a network of conservation properties that will ensure protection and enhancement of local water quality, protect areas which maintain contiguous forest cover and scenic views, provide opportunities for research and education programs and designate areas suitable for public access, use and enjoyment. To learn more about Lula Lake and for the full calendar of events and Open Gate Day schedule, visit www.lulalake.org.