In his lifetime of residency in Soddy-Daisy, Jim Adams has longed realized the benefits that the city's natural assets offer. In his 23 years of serving the city in various roles — chairman of the city's planning commission; city commissioner; mayor; and now vice mayor — he has continuously advocated for investments in outdoor recreation.
The city's board of commissioners recently honored Adams for his longtime support of outdoor recreation in Soddy-Daisy by naming the trail at the Big Soddy Creek Gulf recreation area the "Jim Adams Wilderness Walkway." The honor came at the suggestion of Hardie Stulce, who served as city manager in 2014 when the city decided to purchase the 285-acre natural area.
"I was proud and surprised to have that happen," Adams said of the recognition.
According to Stulce, Adams was one of the biggest supporters of the purchase of the Big Soddy Creek Gulf tract, which was offered to the city for about a third of its value at just more than $1 million. Adams said he visited the wilderness area, known as "The Gulf," while growing up and has many fond memories there.
The area, which is open every day from sunrise to sunset, features a trail along Big Soddy Creek and includes several swimming holes and a waterfall. Adams said he hopes volunteers working on the Cumberland Trail during their spring break in March will be able to connect the Jim Adams Wilderness Walkway to the Cumberland Trail, currently about a half-mile away.
"It's really very popular; it's used every day," Adams said of the Big Soddy Creek Gulf area, adding that the city has purchased adjacent property in order to expand the parking lot to accommodate the number of people who visit the park at peak times. "I invite everyone to come see the natural wonder that has not changed any in 100-something years."
City Manager Janice Cagle said the city doesn't keep records of how many people visit the area, but officials have counted up to 85 cars parked at the area at one time. Adams said the current lot holds about 25-30 cars, and the new lot will hold about that many more.
The new lot should be added by this spring, said Cagle.
Adams has also been a longtime proponent of bringing the Rails-to-Trails program to Soddy-Daisy. The nonprofit conservancy converts former railroad tracks into trails for recreational use. Adams continues to work toward converting the 6-mile line between Highway 27 and the old Sequoyah nuclear plant into a trail through the program, as previous efforts to do so fell through when TVA refused to lease the land, he said.
"Outdoor activity is a big attraction for people looking for a place to live, and I think we have an abundance of that here," said Adams, as to why he supports the city's investments in outdoor recreation.
Other outdoor recreation projects he has advocated for include a multi-use walkway at Holly Park, the Kids Club, the South Park and the Scramble Alley playground.