By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

The Johnson County GoJoCo Wellness Committee in partnership with other community organizations have recently released a website and published a brochure featuring ideas and tools for helping Johnson County continue to be a “Healthier Tennessee Community.”Among the information displayed online and in print is a list of walking trails which makes it easy for citizens to find the path most convenient for them and their physical capabilities.

At the June meeting of the Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Jana Jones, a representative from the Johnson County Wellness Committee, presented the board with proposed signage marking the newest trail called “The Downtown Mile.”According to city officials, the designated trail takes walkers through Mountain City to enjoy classic storefronts and local neighborhoods.The route travels along South Church Street, West Main Street, Shady Street, and includes the Welcome Center.

Angela Stout, Public Health Educator with the Johnson County Health Department, emphasized that The Downtown Mile was chosen due to its use among walkers within the town. “The route was already identified as this was a route already being utilized by some individuals who live and/or work nearby,” Stout said. “Our committee chose to continue with what was already being utilized and design a way to promote it.”

Stout expressed confidence that local citizens and businesses will consider the trail’s convenience as an opportunity to encourage healthy lifestyles, when she said, “We hope people will take advantage of the connections to downtown, to the Welcome Center, Goose Creek Trail, and Ralph Stout Park as well. “We also hope local work sites nearby will incorporate promotion of the walking path into their employee wellness program (if they have one) or develop an employee wellness program that would allow time for employees to take a wellness break and walk the downtown mile.”

Raising public awareness about opportunities to be more active and take advantage of the many trails and paths available for fitness training is an ongoing goal for the GoJoCo Wellness Committee.

“The GoJoCo Wellness Committee, with help from ETSU Medical Students, created a brochure that highlights 17 public access walking/hiking paths/trails in Johnson County,” Stout added. “All of the trail information found in the brochure is also available on the GoJoCo.org website with directions on how to get to each of them.”

Since Johnson County’s recognition as a Healthier Tennessee County in May, many groups and individuals have been taking advantage of the county’s healthy opportunities

“There’s a lot of good health promotion taking place in the county, and it will take persistence, consistency, and support for us to move these efforts forward in a way that makes positive improvements in health outcomes for our residents,” she said.

Stout is encouraged by the response the public has given the program and hopes that people will share their excitement as well as inspire others.

“We would love to see individuals and groups share photos of themselves on our GoJoCoTN Facebook page as they are walking, biking, or hiking the downtown mile or any other spaces in Johnson County,” she said.

More information about the GoJoCo initiative can be obtained online at www.gojoco.org or by visiting the Johnson County Health Department.