2003 – The Beginning
In May 2003, as part of his State of the City address, City of Chattanooga Mayer Bob Corker announced his intention to create a program that would establish the Chattanooga region as a nationally known venue for outdoor recreation. Calling it the Outdoor Initiative, Mayor Corker assigned to the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation, Arts & Culture the task of commissioning a strategic plan.
2004 – Initiative
At a public meeting convened on January 15, 2004, Mayor Corker accepted an interim recommendation of the Steering Committee and consultants that the Outdoor Initiative should proceed with the creation of an independent mechanism whose vision, mission, and strategic orientation would reflect and be consistent with findings from citizen input and research.
2006 – Rapid Development
With the rapid development of Outdoor Chattanooga and its institutionalization within the City of Chattanooga, the need for a flexible, supporting non-profit organization became apparent. As Outdoor Chattanooga secured major events such as the Tour of Georgia, Head of the Hooch, and USA Pro Cycling Championship, the Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga fulfilled a vital role in managing local contracts and sponsorships. The FOC team also coordinated major grant initiatives to support specific programs from archery, mountain biking, rock climbing, and swimming, to the Bike Chattanooga public bike share program.
2007 – Established
Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga, Inc was incorporated in December, 2007 as an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization. FOC works to preserve, protect, and promote outdoor recreation opportunities through education, activities, and events.