The following highlights took place along the Natchez Trace NST during the 2021 calendar year:
Local Economy, Tourism and Community Health
2021 saw the revival of both the Tour the Trace ride, which invited 50 competitive cyclists to ride the entire 444-mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi over the course of four days, as well as the Natchez Trace Century Ride organized by Ridgeland Recreation and Parks in Ridgeland, Mississippi. This year’s Century Ride invited cyclists to ride 8, 25, 50, 62, or 100 miles along the Natchez Trace Parkway and attracted more than 1,000 participants, including country music stars Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
One man’s effort to raise money for charity brought attention to the Trail. After being diagnosed with a potentially terminal brain tumor, 61-year-old Scott Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas took up cycling after years away from the sport in an effort to recover from brain surgery. During his training, he decided to cycle the entire 444-mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway in an effort to raise money for former Olympic figure skater and cancer survivor Scott Hamilton’s charity, the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, and the Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute. Williams reconnected with and was joined on his 11-day ride by three friends with whom he had cycled two sections of the Parkway in high school. Hamilton even joined for a portion of the tour, which raised nearly $30,000 for charity and resulted in numerous news articles.