State, South Cumberland State Park seeking public input

South Cumberland State Park in Grundy County is an area gem. Managers of the South Cumberland State Park are seeking public input on a state plan that will outline recreation, parks and conservation priorities for the next 10 years. (Photo Provided)

GRUNDY COUNTY — State parks are important. That became obvious in 2020. Now a Grundy County parks is looking for your feedback on what its priorities should be moving forward. Managers of the South Cumberland State Park, together with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), are seeking public input on a state plan that will outline recreation, parks and conservation priorities for the next 10 years.

“Planning is an integral part of what we do, and we want to hear from Tennesseans about their thoughts for parks and conservation long term,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “While we are working hard on the plan, we need the input of Tennesseans across the state. The people’s feedback and participation are important for us to succeed.”

The plan, formally known as TN 2030: Tennessee State Recreation Plan, will be a roadmap for the future of public recreation in the state. It will address activity in urban and rural neighborhoods, as well as each region in the state.

The plan is in the formative stage, and TDEC officials ask Tennesseans for their opinions on draft themes and priorities already being discussed. The project will include short-term action items, which would be completed within five years, and long-term initiatives for the 10-year period. TDEC is accepting public comment on its initial priorities. Specific questions from an online form ask Tennesseans to name important priorities to focus on and if there are important recreation and conservation priorities not covered in the draft goals listed. The deadline for submissions is 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 25. Input can be provided by clicking here.

Draft initiatives cover advocacy and education; collaboration and partnerships for economic success; conservation and outdoor recreation; and inclusivity, diversity, equity, access, and affordability. The draft initiatives can be found by clicking here.

Each state must prepare a strategy known as the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years to remain eligible for dollars from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through the U.S. Department of the Interior. The project also includes needs, interests, and priorities for indoor recreation since the state-run Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) gives grants to cities and counties for indoor and outdoor recreation projects. The 10-year outline will follow and build upon the TN 2020 plan as well as the TN 2020 Update.

More information on the recreation plan can be found by clicking here. •

South Cumberland State Park introduces ParkSmart trail mile markers

By Susan D. Campbell | Contributing Writer

Each mile marker in the South Cumberland State Park includes a unique location identification code, which visitors can report to park rangers in an emergency situation, to quickly let them know exactly where they are located. Trail Friends Coordinator Dave Matherly helps the Friends of South Cumberland Trail Team post the new system of trail markings. (Photos Provided)

GRUNDY COUNTY — Hiking is fun and good for the soul but can turn scary if you lose your bearings.

To help visitors have a better sense of what awaits them during a visit to the South Cumberland State Park (SCSP), the Friends of South Cumberland, SCSP’s support group, has been working with park managers on a multi-faceted campaign to improve visitor preparedness and locational awareness. The initiative consists of a new information program, known as ParkSmarts, which aims to better inform park visitors about the layout of the park, information about its various trails, and things to see and do from each of the park’s 12 trailheads.

According to SCSP Manager George Shinn, rangers at the park perform 1.6 visitor rescues per week. The 31,000-acre wilderness park, near Monteagle, has over 85 miles of backcountry trails, and park visitors, often unfamiliar with the ruggedness or length of the trail network, become disoriented, lost after dark, or injured (sometimes seriously).

“We have over 650,000 visitors per year,” Shinn said,” and our park is becoming increasingly popular, especially as many individuals and families have discovered us as a great getaway during COVID-19. However, some of our guests are not aware of the vastness and challenges of the park, which results in their needing a ranger-assisted rescue, often times at night or during bad weather.”

“This park is vast; our trailheads are scattered across an area larger than Metro Nashville,” said ParkSmarts team lead and Friends volunteer Rick Dreves. “There are amazing things to be seen and experienced at every one of them, but as a wilderness park, the trails can sometimes be challenging, and visitors need to do their homework and plan their visits before they arrive.  We hope the ParkSmarts information will be useful to visitors, and help them have a safe and enjoyable visit.”

Dreves said that much of SCSP consists of deeply forested river canyons surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs, with many waterfalls, great hiking, rock climbing and backcountry camping opportunities. “Many of these canyons are over 800 feet deep, and to access all the amazing things they offer, visitors need to be prepared to descend into or climb out of them on our trail network. A rugged 800-foot elevation change can be challenging to the first-time visitor.  That’s why we’ve put a great deal of information about each trail, including mileage and difficulty information, on our website at FriendsOfSouthCumberland.org/park-smarts.”

Volunteers work in the Fiery Gizzard, measuring the trail for precise placement of the new mile marker system on each mile of trail in the park. By the end of January, 2021, nearly 70% of the trails had been marked. Completion is scheduled for early Spring of 2021. (Photo Provided)

Trail mile markers installed

Another aspect of the ParkSmarts campaign is the installation of new trail mile markers, a series of medallions posted along SCSP trails at half-mile intervals, to help visitors gauge their progress, and be able to accurately report their location if they become lost, injured or need ranger assistance for any reason. The park’s Friends group has spent this winter carefully measuring and posting the nearly 85 miles of trail in the park, and hopes to complete the trail marking system by early spring. The Tennessee Trails Association provided a grant to help fund production of the nearly 400 mile markers needed to cover the park.

“Having a way for our visitors to accurately let us know where they are is invaluable in a search-and-rescue operation,” said SCSP Assistant Manager Bill Knapp. “Particularly after dark, if they can tell us which mile marker they are near, that can save us valuable time in locating them and helping get them out of harm’s way. It’s especially critical if someone is injured or suffering from hypothermia, which is not uncommon here for much of the year.”

Bruce Blohm, who heads up the Friends’ Trails Team, says the trail marking system began making a difference even before his team of volunteers has finished posting all of the mile markers.

“The first couple of weeks after we began posting the markers, our rangers were already getting calls for help, where the visitors were able to tell them exactly where they were, thanks to the mile marker system,” Blohm said, adding that each mile marker is attached to a tree or post along the trail, and high-intensity reflectors are mounted above and below each mile medallion.

“The reflectors can be seen from a great distance at night, even by the light from a smartphone, so they are easy for visitors to locate in an emergency situation.”

One limitation of the new system is that not all of the SCSP has a strong cell signal, according to Shinn.

“Coverage is gradually improving, but visitors should also know how to safely follow a trail to higher ground, in order to get a cell signal, if the area in which they find themselves doesn’t have good cell signal coverage.”

Shinn said that having a good trail map, either on paper or on the visitor’s phone, is still a most essential part of preparing for a visit to the park. “Not only having the map, but taking time to study it, understanding the distances involved, and the elevation change of the trail, could be critical if an emergency situation were to develop. Knowing today’s sunset time, and monitoring how long it would take you to hike back to the trailhead, are simple but critical actions.”

Plan your next visit

Shinn, Knapp, Dreves and Blohm offer the following suggestions for a safe trip to the park: dress appropriately for the weather, with layers in the winter, including eye and face protection, and rain gear as appropriate; wear sturdy hiking boots; have plenty of water, high-energy snacks, a first-aid kit, and know how use it; have several sources of light, such as headlamps; and charge your phone before you head out, but don’t try to use it as a flashlight. On a cellphone battery, that will only last a few minutes, and your phone is more important as your lifeline to call for help, should you need it.

“We’re not trying to scare anyone — we just want our visitors to think about how they should be prepared to experience our vast and beautiful wilderness safely,” Shinn said. “South Cumberland is a one-of-a-kind place that everyone should experience, but plan ahead, and do it safely. Our rangers would much rather be answering your questions about the amazing flora, fauna and geology of our park, than having to rescue you in an emergency situation.”

The South Cumberland State Park is over 31,000 miles in four counties: Franklin, Marion, Grundy and Sequatchie, making it one of the largest in the state. To learn more, visit www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Area state parks offer first day hikes

Several area Tennessee State Parks will kick off New Year’s Day with Guided First Day Hikes. (File Photo)

Tennessee State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes on New Year’s Day. Many state parks will host its own special hike. It’s a great way to safely spend time with friends and family to kick off the new year. Here are those happening closest to Lynchburg:

WINCHESTER | Tims Ford State Park — Local rangers will lead locals on a 2.5 mile loop hike out the Lost Creek Overlook Trail to the Lost Creek Overlook and return on the Overlook Trail. Online registration is required and due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will be limited to 50 hikers. This is a free hike, however donations are encouraged and will go toward firefighting supplies and equipment to keep the parks safe and beautiful. Hikers should meet at 10 a.m. at the Visitors Center. Click here for more information.

MANCHESTER | Old Stone Fort State Park — Meet Ranger Caleb Doster at the Old Fort State Park Museum Roof at 1 p.m. for a two hour strenuous hike along the 3.5 mile Backbone Trail. Hikers will walk along the Enclosure Trail and see the prehistoric Native American Mounds while discussing their cultural significance to the area. As you hike, you will see both the Big and Little Duck Rivers, as well as the three magnificent waterfalls. Temperature on Friday will hover around 70 degrees but there is an 80 percent chance of rain, so dress accordingly. Hikers are encouraged to bring their own water and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Leashed dogs are welcome. For more information, click here.

BEERSHEBA SPRING | South Cumberland State Park — There is no more picturesque spot in south central Tennessee that Stone Door located inside South Cumberland State Park. Park Ranger Kristin Willis will lead hikers on a two mile hike to the best overlook in the park. Meet at 1183 Stone Door Road at 9 a.m. There’s a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday and temperatures should be in the mid-sixties. Dress appropriately. Click here for more information.

Tennessee State Parks’ First Hikes are part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. Most hikes are free but each state park accepts donations. To see all the First Day Hikes being offered in our state on January 1, 2021, click here.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Area state parks plan Day After Thanksgiving Hikes

Four area state parks — Old Stone Fort, Henry Horton, Cumberland Trail, and South Cumberland — will offer Day After Thanksgiving Hikes on November 27. (Photos Provided)

Mark your calendar for November 27, skip the Black Friday shopping, and work off a few of those turkey calories with these four Day After Thanksgiving Hike at Middle Tennessee state parks.

MANCHESTER — Join Park Ranger Keith Wimberley for a guided hike around Old Stone Fort State Park. Hikers will walk a leisurely 1.25 mile path that follows along the Little Duck and Duck Rivers while discussing the pre-history, history, and geology of the area. The event is free (though donations are welcome) and will be limited to 50 people. Registration is required. Click here to reserve your spot.

MONTEAGLE — South Cumberland State Park in Grundy County and Ranger Jessie plan a guided hike through the picturesque Grundy Forest Natural Area to discuss the native plants and animals that inhabit the area. This two mile hike is rated as moderate due to rocky terrain, exposed roots, and some minor elevation change. The hike is free (though donations are welcome) but registration is required. Click here to reserve your spot.

CHAPEL HILL — Rangers at Henry Horton State Park in nearby Chapel Hill plan an organized hike through the Hickory Ridge and River Trails. It’s a easy, 3.5 mile hike that’s suitable for all ages and hiking abilities. Ranger Julia and Park Manager Ryan will stop along the way to point out various natural and historical features along the way. The hike is free (though donations are welcome) but registration is required. Click here to reserve your spot.

CROSSVILLE — Exchange Black Friday for Black Mountain at this Cumberland Trail State Park Guided Hike. Ranger Mike Croley will guide hikers across the northern rim of the Sequatchie Valley to the stunning boulder formations. It’s a 1.5 mile roundtrip hike that should take around two hours. The hike is free (though donations are welcome) but registration is required. Click here to reserve your spot.

All hikers should wear good walking shoes (no sandals), and bring their own drinking water. Daytime highs that day will be around 63 degree, so dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, visit the Tennessee State Parks website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

4 Things to Do This Weekend

A firefly hike at the botanical gardens, classic 80s flicks at the drive in, a new moon hike to Stone Door, and a blown glass exhibit at Cheekwood … yeah, there’s plenty of (socially distanced) things to do this weekend.

THURSDAY Firefly Garden Hike at Huntsville Botanical Garden: We are all trying to live our best life while socially distancing and outdoor events are sometimes a perfect fit. The Huntsville Botanical Garden offers a great opportunity this Thursday with their Firefly Garden Hike. The South’s most charming insect are most active right before sunset. The hike includes a walk through the garden as you learn about the firefly life cycle. Bring a jar so you can catch and release along the way. The hike starts at 7 p.m. Click here for more details.

THURSDAYGhostbusters, Karate Kid, Empire Strikes Back at the Drive In: Thursday will be the last day to catch a trio of classic 1980’s films back on the big screen. The Montana Drive In will play Ghostbusters (1984, rated PG), Karate Kid (1984, rated PG), and The Empire Strikes Back (1980, rated PG). For full coverage on these films, click here.

SUNDAYNew Moon Hike to Stone Door: Legend holds that 10 foot wide by 100 foot deep crack in the rock formation at South Cumberland State Park was once used by Native Americans as a passage way from the cliff to the gorge below during seasonal migration. The two mile round trip hike also offers scenic overlooks and a one-of-a-kind view of the new moon. Meet at Stone Door Road in Beersheeba Spring to a guided night hike with Ranger Spencer beginning at 8:30 p.m. Click here to register.

ALL WEEKENDChihuly Nights at Cheekwood: Imagine large-scale, blown glass sculptures in a gorgeous outdoor setting. It’s the perfect solution to feeling cooped up during social distancing. Chihuly Nights at Cheekwood will display the sculpture of American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly against the bright, southern night sky. Chihuly Nights happens on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for 5-10 p.m. To learn more, click here.

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

5 Things to Do This Weekend

FridayFight Like a Girl Benefit for Breast Cancer at Twin Creeks Marina: Four female country music artist will play at Twin Creeks’ open air event center, The Honeysuckle, on Friday to perform for a good cause. Trick Pony’s Heidi Newfield, Anita Cochran, Suzanne Alexander, and Jamie O’Neal will play from 7-10 p.m. at the Fight Like a Girl Concert to benefit the Love Anchors Breast Cancer Fund. There will be limited seating due to social distancing. To get yours, click here. Doors will open at 5 p.m. For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.

FridayWaterfall Photography Class at Old Stone Fort:  Photographers love to take pics of waterfalls, but it’s a little more complicated than point and shoot. On July 10, David Duplessis of Tennessee Photographers will host an All Day Outdoor Waterfall Photography Class at Old Fort State Park in Manchester. Students should bring a DSLR camera, lenses, a tripod with shutter release, and wear clothing they don’t mind getting wet. There will be a small amount of hiking and since the class does not provide lunch or water, students should plan to bring their own. To learn more, click here.

FridayRolling Stones Havana Moon at Montana: In May 2016, the Rolling Stones played a historic concert in front of over 500,000 Cubans. It marked the first time a foreign rock band played an open-air concert in Cuba to a crowd that size. Director Paul Dugdale had the foresight to produce a concert film around it. That film, The Rolling Stone: Havana Moon, will play on Friday at the Montana Drive In. See our complete coverage here.

FridayNight Hike to Stone Door: Hiking to Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park is always fun but a guided night hike under a new moon is sure to be special. Ranger Spencer will guide this two mile hike through the beautiful Savage Gulf area. This hike is limited to the first 10 people to register and is $10 per person. Please meet the ranger at the Stone Door Station about 15 minutes before the start of the hike to check in. To register, click here.

SaturdayQuarantine Chameleon opening at Tullahoma Art Center: The COVID-19 quarantine has brought out a lot of unique expressions. On Saturday, local artist Joy Snead will open her Quarantine Chamelon show at the Tullahoma Art Center. The self-taught artist will show her works inspired by her time at home during the global pandemic. The opening takes place from 12-2 p.m. at the TAC located at 401 South Jackson Street. Click here for more details.

SundayBeginners Cookie Class at Promise Manor: Tullahoma-based small business Sami Kay’s Cookies will host a Beginner’s Cookie Class on Sunday at Promise Manor from 1-4 p.m. Students will learn tips, tricks, and secret to creating gorgeous iced cookies with a summer theme. To register for the event, click here.

TWRA: Stop littering state parks

Keep Tennessee Beautiful, that’s what state wildlife officials are shouting to the rooftops as more and more litter shows up in state public wildlife areas and state parks.

Since social distancing became the norm back in March, more and more folks are flocking to fishing areas, hiking trails, and camping sites throughout Tennessee. Locally, the parking lots at both Short Springs State Natural Area, South Cumberland State Park, and Tims Ford State Park stay full. Some tourism experts estimate that traffic is up in state parks by as much as 30 percent.

trash at South Cumberland
Earlier this week, the Tennessee State Park Facebook page posted these pictures of trash left at South Cumberland State Park. {Photo Provided}

And some of these folks aren’t being very good guests.

“People are parking in undesignated areas, littering, vandalizing, going off trail, injuring themselves, etc.,” they said in their FB post.

“Our mission is to preserve and protect these natural, cultural and historic places. We need our visitors to help us take care of these lands so that present and future generations can enjoy them.”

State Park officials remind visitors that most parks have re-opened but with occupancy and usage limits. If you arrive in an area experiencing high visitation with no available parking, state park officials ask that you find another destination for your outing or come back at a different time. Officials also remind guest never to park along the shoulder of roads – as this is dangerous and destroys the grounds. If you are hiking, always stay on the designated trail.

For a complete list of Tennessee State Park rules and regulations, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Love nature? Become a Tennessee Naturalist

Bran Potter, professor of geology at the University of the South in Sewanee, is one of many instructors for this year’s Tennessee Naturalist Program, which begins in September and is sponsored by the Friends of South Cumberland.

By Susan Campbell • Contributing Writer

Registration is now open for the 2020-21 Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP), sponsored by the Friends of the South Cumberland.

TNP is a series of 10, four-hour classes that are designed to introduce adult learners to the natural history of Tennessee. Graduates join a critical corps of volunteers providing nature education, outreach and service to the South Cumberland State Park (SCSP).

Classes are scheduled in two semesters, from September to November and February to May, and are usually held on Saturday mornings. The classwork is divided between lectures, hands-on activities and many hours of outdoor immersion. Topics include geology, forests, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, aquatic ecosystems, trail building and interpretation.

The fieldwork portion of the course can be physically demanding, with off-trail hikes on steep hills and rough terrain, and some night activities.

Classes and Instructors

Sept 12, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the SCSP Visitors Center: Becoming a Tennessee Naturalist with Todd Wright and Deb Dreves.

Sept 26, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Grundy Forest Day Loop: Tennessee’s Forests with Dr. Ken Smith.

Oct 10, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Reptiles and Amphibians with Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator Margaret Matens.

 Oct 24, 5 to 9:30 p.m. at the Dubose Conference Center: The Nocturnal Naturalist with Dr. Richard Clements.

Nov 7, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Gundy Forest Day Loop: Geology with Dr. Bran Potter.

Feb 6, 9 am. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of the South Snowden Hall Room 101: Tennessee Mammals with State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath.

Mar 13, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., South Cumberland State Park: Trail Building.

Mar 27, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of the South Spencer Hall Room 173: Forbs, Ferns, and Fungi with Mary Priestley and Yolande Gottfried.

April 10, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., University of the South Spencer Hall Room 173: Tennessee Invertebrates with Dr. Kirk Zigler.

Apr 24, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of the South Snowden Hall Room 101: Tennessee’s Living Waters with Ron Ramsey.

May 15, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the SCSP Visitors Center: Tennessee Birds with Ranger Mark Taylor.

Cost and Registration

The cost for the classes is $250 per person for current members of the Friends of South Cumberland State Park. For those who are not current members, the fee is $275 per person, which includes a one-year individual membership in the Friends.

Classes are limited to 20 participants. Requirements for becoming a Tennessee Naturalist are 40 hours of instruction and 40 hours of environmentally focused volunteer service. To register or for more information, visit www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org, or email todd.wright@tn.gov.

Scholarships are available

A scholarship has been made available by the Friends of South Cumberland to be used by a teacher in the Grundy County School System. To learn more about the scholarship, email todd.wright@tn.gov.

The SCSP is located within four Tennessee counties: Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Sequatchie. The park is composed of approximately 30,845 acres in nine separate areas and boasts some of the best hiking and backcountry camping in the region. For more information, visit www.tnstateparks.com/south-cumberland. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

7 Things To Do This Weekend

Saturday is the first day of summer and so it is with great excitement that The Lynchburg Times relaunches one of its favorite weekly features, Seven Things. We’ve searched hundreds of websites and social media page so you don’t have to. These are our seven favorite things happening in middle Tennessee this weekend. Enjoy and remember to maintain social distancing

1 | Adopt a Beehive at Tims Ford State Park — Did you know that Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County sells its own locally-produced honey? It’s true. Park officials recently installed two honeybee hives and locals can adopt either a single bee, a colony, or the complete hive. Learn more by clicking here.

2 | Dirty Dancing and Footloose at the Montana — Thursday is the last day to see a pair of iconic 80’s films at the local drive in. Dirty Dancing will begin at 8:30 p.m. on June 18 and Footloose will follow at 10:25 p.m. The Montana Drive In is located at 10251 Tullahoma Highway. To read our complete coverage on this event, click here.

3 | Free Screening of My Friend Karl — Did you know that Tullahoma boasts it’s very own documentary film maker? Tullahoma High School student and filmmaker Colin Shuran recently finished his first, feature-length documentary – a film title, My Friend Karl – and you can watch it for free, under the stars on Friday, June 19 around dusk at the South Jackson Civic Center. The film tells the story an unlikely friendship through the lens of mental illness, homelessness, and advocacy. It’s a great teaching film for all ages.

4 | DJ Dusty at the Hard Dock Cafe — Oh, hello grandmother? We’re not sure where this catch phrase came from exactly but if you are from around here you know exactly who it belongs to. He’s a Lynchburg Elementary School teacher, a Jack Daniel’s tour guide, and a one-of-a-kind personality. He also happens to be a fabulous DJ who will keep you smiling and dancing all night. He’ll be at the Hard Dock Cafe at Tims Ford Marina beginning at 6 PM on Saturday.

5 | Hike to Horsepound Falls — Saturday marks the first day of summer and the perfect day for a hike. South Cumberland State Park officials plan an organized hike to Horsepound Falls on Saturday, June 20. You’ll experience two falls, a creek, and maybe if you are lucky the tailend of the spring wildflowers. Read our complete coverage by clicking here.

6 | Watrace Summer Concert Series — Live music outside by the historic railroad tracks? Yes please. On Saturday, June 19 head into this charming, historic railroad town for the Wartrace MusicFest Summer Concert series. It happens every third Saturday at 6 p.m. and features live music, shopping, craft beer and pizza from the Iron Pizzeria. Saturday’s line up includes Goodbye June, Kiss Kiss Bang, The Blue Trees, The Cold Stares, Sweet Fever, and Fred Reilly.

7 | Acoustic Jam at Tims Ford State Park — Some nights you’re a picker and other nights you’re a grinner. On Saturday, June 20 you can be either at the All Acoustic Open Jam Night hosted by David Watson Music. The music starts at 5: 30 p.m. at the state park’s Recreation Building and it’s open to musicians of all levels and abilities. To learn more, click here.

State parks will re-open on Friday

Get out there and enjoy the great outdoors but continue to do you part and stay apart. That’s the message from the state’s public parks system after Governor Bill Lee announced on Monday that he’ll allow his Stay at Home order to expire on April 30.

As such, the Tennessee State Park system will re-open this Friday, April 24 with several caveats. One, parks will open for day use only from 7 a.m. to sunset. Overnight accommodations will remain closed until after May 1. Two, visitors will be encouraged to still maintain the CDC recommended six feet of social distance between groups. Gathering areas such as pavilions and playgrounds will remain closed, and three, prepare for very limited or no bathroom access.

“We are eager to serve once again but we urge Tennesseans to continue to practice physical distancing when visiting parks,” Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Jim Bryson said. “We have implemented policies designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we will monitor all aspects of the issue to ensure safety among visitors and our staff.”

The parks system also recommends that you limit visits to those parks closest to home. For Moore County residents, that would be Tims Ford in Winchester, Old Stone Fort in Manchester, and South Cumberland in Grundy County.

State officials say they won’t hesitate to re-close the park should visitors choose not to practice appropriate social distancing. If the park you plan to visit is crowded when you arrive, state officials recommend leaving and coming back another time.

“We urge the public to help us keep our state parks open by doing their part to stay apart, by maintaining proper social distancing and personal hygiene,” the state parks system said in a press release.

For information on which parks will re-open and which will remain closed visit the Tennessee State Parks COVID-19 Closures webpage. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}