Help Tims Ford win favorite TN State Park

Love to canoe, camp, fish, and explore Tims Ford State Park in nearby Franklin County? Show them a little love in the My TN State Park competition that ends on January 31. (Photo Credit: Tims Ford State Park)

It’s no secret that the Tennessee State Park system has been crucial to Tennesseans in 2020 during the pandemic. When asked many stated that the opportunity to explore outdoors is one of the thing “that kept them going.” In fact three Southeast Tennessee state parks – Tims Ford, Falls Creek Falls, and Harrison Bay – were among the top four for visitation in the state this fall. Now locals who enjoy area state parks have an opportunity to give back.

Three weeks ago, the Tennessee State Park system launched their My TN State Park fundraiser hoping to raise some much needed revenue and have a little fun in the process. Since then nearly 2,000 people have donated over $43,000 and our local park, Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County, is responsible for $622 of those dollars and currently ranks 24th among all 56 state parks.

Currently, the top 10 state parks based on donations/votes are: Big Hill Pond ($3,051), Cumberland Mountain ($2,991), South Cumberland ($2101), Rock Island ($1,883), Montgomery Bell ($1,773), Frozen Head ($1,738), Road Mountain ($1,679), Panther Creek ($1,230), Pickett ($1,115), and Harrison Bay ($1,091). You can see a complete list of donation by clicking here.

With just seven days left in the campaign, local donations could lift Tims Ford into the top 10. Every dollar will go directly to support the state park you choose. Donations will be used to help parks repair, maintain, and prepare for the 2021 season.

“This friendly competition will give you the opportunity to show your love and appreciation for the places that kept you going in 2020,” state park officials said. “As you’ve donated to vote for your favorite park, you’ve touched the hearts of park staff, proclaimed the park’s importance, and contributed to its prolonged protection and improvement.”

Go to tnstateparks.com/vote. Find your favorite park and click donate. Every $1 donation equals one vote. The fundraiser will end on Sunday, January 31. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated community 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.}

Tennesseans now get discount at state parks

Need a break? Spend the night in one of Tennessee’s 56 state parks, including nearby Tims Ford, and get a discount as a Tennessee resident. {Photo Provided}

In March 2020, the world changed for most of us. Suddenly social distancing, quarantine, masks, and sanitizer became part of our daily lexicon. As the COVID-19 global pandemic forced many inside, others continue to look for ways to connect outdoors. It’s in that spirit that the Tennessee State Parks system decided to offer a new discount specifically for Tennessee residents.

On Wednesday, they announced a 10 percent Tennessee Resident Discount meant to encourage spending the night outdoors while making it more affordable. Tennessee is already just one of six U.S. states who do not charge an admission fee at state-sponsored parks.

“Our hope is that all Tennesseans – especially young adults, new residents, families with small kids, and price-sensitive travelers – will get outside and discover the beauty and wonder of your state parks,” said Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Jim Bryson. 

The discount is available to reserve a campsite, cabin, or lodge room at any Tennessee State Park including Tims Ford, Old Stone Fort, South Cumberland, and Henry Horton. To reserve a spot at one of 56 state parks, contact them by phone at 800-471-5295 or by clicking 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.}

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.}

State parks plan virtual 5K; proceeds benefit the Honey Project

You can run the Honey Bee Virtual 5K any day between May 17-23. {Art Provided}

Get out of the house. Get moving and get out there and save the bees.

May 20 is World Bee Day and to celebrate Tennessee State Parks will host a virtual 5K with all proceeds benefiting the Tennessee State Park Honey Project. Both Henry Horton State Park and South Cumberland State Park participate regionally.

The race takes place May 17 through 23. Locals can run (or walk) the virtual race from anywhere and at their own pace. The registration fee is $20. All participants will receive a bib by email. A finisher’s medal and certificate will be sent by mail.

The Honey Project helps establish honeybee hives in parks across Tennessee to help folks learn about pollinators. Since pollinator health is critical to Tennessee’s agricultural, environmental and ecological health, these tiny insects open the door to discuss a myriad of environmental issues. TSP also bottles and sells state park honey in area gift shops.

To register for the race, click here. To learn more about the TSP Honey Project, 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.}