By Beth Cox
That Tate Davis, executive director of Doe Mountain Recreation Area (DMRA), is optimistic about the direction of DMRA; there is little doubt.
Memorial Day weekend sales that have steadily increased since 2017 saw a 20 percent increase in permits sold this year compared to last year.
“Permit sales had increased double digits for the year by the end of May,” said Davis, who credits social media as being a huge reason for the growth of DMRA.
Facebook gets the word out about DMRA through the Facebook boost for people interested in all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and dirt bikes within a 100-150-mile radius reaching an estimated 5000-6000 people. DMRA board member, Dave Jones was instrumental in giving tips on how to maximize social media exposure.
Another significant factor that has helped is the rating from Northeast Tourism Association listing DMRA as fifth, for ATV and off highway vehicles (OHV) and fifth, as being the best winter hikes in Northeast Tennessee.
“I knew once people came, they would like it and want to come back and it shows through the number of annual permits we have sold this year,” Davis said.
The Kettlefoot Fire Tower restoration has been “the crowning jewel” and one of the biggest tourist attractions for DMRA as it has brought a lot of publicity and more visitors to the region.
“We are one of the few places that restore old fire towers due to the liability and cost,” Davis added.
As for moving forward, DMRA has big plans.
“I would like to see more rental vehicles and have guided tours available, Davis said adding that he would also like to have an OHV festival in the future, but anticipates having at least an organized OHV ride this summer.
The last thing on the executive director’s wish list is zip line, which he feels would also increase sales, thanks to their popularity, especially in Northeast Tennessee.”
Davis expresses his appreciation for the support of the DMRA board, “I have big ideas, and I am encouraged by the help I get through the DMRA Board of Directors.”
For more information about Doe Mountain Recreation Area contact the office at 423-460-1295.