Anglers and recreational boaters will enjoy improved access to Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga, thanks to a major overhaul of the Wolftever Creek Boat Ramp, including the installation of a new pier on Saturday, by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and a dedicated team of union volunteers.
Wolftever Creek Boat Ramp is located adjacent to Harrison Bay State Park just outside of Chattanooga and is one of the area’s most heavily used public water accesses.
The renovation expands year-round public access to the 36,000-acre Tennessee River impoundment by replacing an existing dilapidated dock with a brand-new, 104-foot-long, handicap-accessible floating pier.
Union volunteers donated approximately 300 hours of labor to demolish the old dock April 7 and install the new pier April 21. Volunteers will return to install an additional handrail on the pier abutment, align the floating section of the pier and install transition plates between dock sections. In the meantime, the pier is open for use. Volunteers also replaced damaged and unsafe floor boards and the top rail of a fishing pier adjacent to the boat launch.
Part of USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) program, the project was conducted without the use of state game and fish funds. Materials were purchased with $10,000 raised by United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 42 and $22,000 in federal marine fuel tax revenues from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). All union labor was donated.
The project originated when UAW Local 42 expressed interest in taking on a community-based conservation project, and USA research revealed strong public support for improvements to the Wolftever Creek ramp.
“Unions are always looking for ways to get involved and improve their communities,” said UAW Local 42 President Steve Cochran. “The Wolftever Creek boat ramp was one of the most heavily used access points to the lake, but it was really unsafe and unusable in the winter due to low water levels. Replacing the boat ramp is a project that UAW Local 42 really wanted to get involved in to benefit the public and demonstrate that we care about our community.”
Along with UAW Local 42, participating union members also represent the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 175, Ironworkers Local 704 and Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 5.
“The Wolftever Creek project is an excellent example of how local unions are positively impacting their communities and the future of conservation through the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground program,” said USA Conservation Manager Robert Stroede. “This dock will benefit thousands of fishermen and other recreational boaters who use the Wolftever Creek boat ramp. It will not only improve the aesthetic value of this location but provide improved and safer access to all who utilize it.”
TWRA officials were grateful for USA and union volunteers’ assistance in making the Wolftever Creek ramp renovation a reality faster than limited state budgets and manpower allowed.
“The donations and hard work of the Union Sportsmen allowed us to accomplish this project more quickly,” said Captain Matt Clarey, who oversees boat access areas and ramps for TWRA Region III. “We’re pleased to work alongside such great citizens. This partnership will benefit Tennesseans for years to come.”