Mountain Goat Trail sculpture contest hopes to celebrate history

By Robert Mohr
Staff Writer

The Mountain Goat Trail Alliance, working in tandem with the Grundy Area Arts Council, is in the midst of selecting a sculpture proposal to be built along a recently completed section of the Mountain Goat Trail in Tracy City.

According to the contest website, the goal is to “provide an opportunity for regional artists to create a public work and to enhance the trail with sculpture of exceptional quality and innovation.”

“Works can be in any media, must be suitable for outdoors, must be ‘sit-able’ and should be permanent. Entries should incorporate elements of the story and culture of the ‘Mountain Goat’ and the plateau region it served.”

The winning sculpture will be built in The Old Roundhouse Park in Tracy City, which the Mountain Goat Trail now runs through as of November 2018. The contest, which began accepting entries on January 1, 2019, closed to entries on February 15. From February 26 to February 28, the six judge panel will deliberate the four entries and announce a winner on March 1.

The panel consists of: Jana Barrett, an artist and the mayor of Altamont; Patrick Dean, a cyclist, runner, and the Executive Director of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance; Somers Randolph, a sculptor; Fallon Meeks, a lifelong resident of Tracy City; Ron Van Dyke, an artist and metal sculptor; and Dean Lutes, a woodworker. The site will then be prepared for the sculpture installation on June 1, with a celebration on June 15.

The Mountain Goat Trail is an active project seeking to reclaim the path of the Mountain Goat Railroad and turn it into a trail for recreational use. The Mountain Goat Railroad ran from 1856 to 1985, carrying coal and passengers between Palmer and Cowan on the Cumberland Plateau. Its name comes from its once held title of steepest railroad climb in the world.

When the trail is completed, it will stretch from Cowan to Palmer, covering a distance of over 35 miles. Currently, the trail has an almost five mile section running from downtown Sewanee, next to Hair Depot, all the way to Mountain Outfitters in Monteagle. There is also a 3.2 mile section located in Tracy City and a project in the works to connect the two sections.