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.}

Trails and Trilliums Festival postponed

MONTEAGLE — The 17th Annual Trails and Trilliums festival and related Wild Azalea Gala fundraiser are both being postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Friends of South Cumberland State Park (FSC), which offers both events to help raise awareness and funding for its work on behalf of the park, will announce rescheduling plans for both events once the current health crisis has subsided, according to FSC Board President John Hille.

The events, both of which were scheduled for April 17-19, included group gatherings that had potential for facilitating virus spread. FSC Treasurer Rich Wyckoff said the Friends will be refunding fees to guests who have already pre-registered.

“Given the current guidance from the federal government, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, we felt it was in everyone’s best interest that we do our part to prevent community spread of the Covid-19 virus,” Hille said. “We are also in the process of contacting our sponsors and suppliers to explain our decision and discuss options going forward.”

Margaret Matens, FSC’s Trails and Trilliums Chair, said that Tennessee State Parks remain open, and are a welcoming place for people to get out and enjoy nature in wide-open spaces.

“Our park is especially beautiful in the springtime, when the waterfalls and wildflowers are spectacular. We invite everyone to come visit the park, enjoy the fresh air, and take a break from the stress and disruptions of the current situation.”

For more information about planning a socially-distanced visit to the park, visit FriendsOfSouthCumberland.org/plan-your-visit.•

{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.}

Technology helps Denny Cove track number of climbers

By Susan Campbell, Contributing Writer

REGIONAL NEWS | South Cumberland State Park — Rangers and volunteers at the South Cumberland State Park (SCSP) have embarked on a project to track the number of visitors to sections of the park most popular with rock climbers.

An Access Fund grant awarded to the Friends of South Cumberland (FSC) will use infrared trail counters to collect data on the number of rock climbers at the Denny Cove and Foster Falls sections of the park. The FSC worked with park rangers to install the counters at these two locations, which are popular with both hikers and climbers.

South Cumberland State Park Ranger Ryan Harris installs infrared tracking devices near Denny Cove in the South Cumberland State Park. The trackers, obtained by the Friends of South Cumberland through a grant from The Access Fund, will count climbers visiting both the Denny Cove and Foster Falls sections of the park.  {Photo Provided}

The data collected from the counters will give the park a better idea of the number of climbers accessing these two locations and will allow the park and the FSC to better advocate for climber resources in the park, according to FSC Board Vice President Trae Moore.

“The initial trail count project will be limited to Denny Cove and Foster Falls, but if the project is successful, the Friends hope to expand the use of the trail counters throughout the park,” Moore said.

The counters work by using an infrared beam to detect when a person passes by the counter. It then stores this information until the rangers retrieve the data. The counters are positioned in locations to best tally all visitors to these locations.

Through direct observation, FSC volunteers will also verify the accuracy of the counters and develop ratios of climbers versus hikers in order to obtain more accurate data on the number of climbers, according to Moore, while also collecting raw data on all users of the trails.

Denny Cove, one of the park’s newest sections, was added in July, 2016 when The Access Fund, a climbing advocacy group, and Southeast Climbers’ Coalition (SCC), with help from the FSC, purchased the 685-acre tract. It was dedicated and officially opened to the public in March of 2017. Previously held by a Brazilian timber company, Denny Cove is described as “a nearly pristine parcel with outstanding cliff-lines, making it a priority acquisition for climbing enthusiasts.”

Over 150 world-class climbing routes have already been identified on the bluffs at Denny Cove, located just off US Highway 41, two miles south of the entrance to Foster Falls.

The mission of the Access Fund is to advocate for climbers on a national level. To learn more, visit www.accessfund.org. To learn more about the FSC, visit www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org.

The South Cumberland State Park 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 back country camping in the region. It is the largest state park in Tennessee. •

{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.}

Story Book children’s trail opens in Monteagle

The new Story Book Trail features book panels posted at child height along a half-mile hike. {Photo Courtesy of South Cumberland State Park}

EVENTS | Monteagle — “The Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the Earth.” These were the poignant words of American Indian Chief Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) uttered over 100 years ago. They are the inspiration for the children’s book, Brother Eagle, Sister Sky. It teaches the lesson of respecting the Earth and all its creatures.

the book Brother Eagle, Sister Sky
The book panels at the new Story Book Trail are excerpts from the children’s book, Brother Eagle, Sister Sky.

On Saturday, November 30, South Cumberland State Park will celebrate the title as they add panels from the book at the first installment on their new Story Book Trail. The event will begin at noon with a guided half-mile hike on a short trail near the Monteagle Visitor’s Center. A park ranger will read the book aloud from illustrated panels posted along trail. Each story book panel is posted at child height to make the reading hikes fun and interactive.

Dutch Maid Bakery of Tracy City will provide snacks. Hikers should meet at 11745 U.S. Highway 41 in Monteagle at noon. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page by clicking 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.}