Cedars of Lebanon State Park was chosen for a demonstration project which will create eco-friendly trails accessible to hikers and walkers of all ability levels.
State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials met at Cedars of Lebanon last week to showcase the first stretch of new trails. At first glance, the trail resembles brown concrete; however, it is actually a hard surface made from recycled tires.
Tennessee State Parks Trails and Vista Administrator Michael Meister explained that the rubberized trail is the first of its kind at any Tennessee State Park. The company they are collaborating with is KBI, out of Florida, who makes the "Flexipave" seen in out-of-state parks such as Yellowstone National Park.
"We haven't done this in other parks. We are doing it here first to see if we like it and then move to the other parks," added TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. "We are all about preserving and protecting the environment. We have these tires and it's hard to find something to do with them. This way, we can use them for the trails."
The trails are unique in that they will not alter the hydrology of the area.
"This is a flexible, porous paving solution. It essentially takes the place of concrete," Meister said. "It takes recycled tires, mixed with rock, aggregate and glue, and is laid down like concrete. It has the firm characteristic of concrete, but this won't crack when a tree root grows under it. It just flexes up."
Because of its porous nature, water also will not pool on top of it.
The total trail at Cedars of Lebanon will utilize 7,000 tires.