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How to celebrate National Public Lands Day

Hannah Swayze • Sep 17, 2018 at 8:57 AM

Dust off those hiking boots because National Public Lands Day this year will be celebrated this year on September 22. Tennessee is celebrating by hosting free ranger-led hikes and service opportunities in every state park. Here are some free activities celebrating in our region: 

David Crockett Birthplace State Park

1245 Davy Crockett Park Rd. Limestone, 423-257-2167.

Join Ranger Sean McKay on a lead hike through the newly-established trials at the David Crockett Birthplace State Park. The hike is free and participants are asked to meet at the visitors center before the hike that will last 10-11 a.m. Wear good hiking boots and bring water. Ranger Sean McKay can be reached at 423-405-8058 or by email at [email protected] 

Roan Mountain State Park

1015 Highway, 14Roan Mountain, 423-772-0190.

Take some time to volunteer on one of the most beautiful areas in the region: Roan Mountain State Park. At this work day event, volunteers will be working on the Peg Leg Trail doing everything from using gravel to clearing the trail for future hikers. Participants should prepare to get dirty. Wear clothes for working and bring snacks and water. The group will meet at the Gristmill Visitors Center at 9 a.m. and must be at least 12 years of age. Work will continue until noon.Volunteer forms are required to participate and can be filled out the morning on the event. Minors must have forms signed by a parent/guardian. 

Rocky Fork State Park

501 Rocky Fork Rd. Flag Pond, (423) 271-1233.

Living History Hike

Relive the Flint Creek Battle at a living history hike at the Rocky Fork State Park on Saturday. Reenactors will tell the story of how John Sevier snuck into the site to ambush John Watts, a Cherokee Leader at his winter camp in January of 1789. It is a moderate 2-mile hike that can be achieved by both adults and children. Participants are asked to wear suitable clothes and shoes and bring water. Register for this free event on tnstateparks.com. 

New Whitehouse Cliff Trail Work Kick-off!

Help out Rocky Fork State Park by volunteering at the very first event for their long-term major trail project. Volunteers will start he first section of the new trail that will eventually wind around the Whitehouse Cliffs Face and Whitehouse Cliffs Overlook. Those who want to participate should register in advance in case of cancellation due to inclement weather. Wear appropriate clothing, closed toed shoes or boots, bring water, snacks and work gloves (if you have them.) The park will supply hand tools, hard hats and gloves. Difficulty is rated as moderate. Work starts at 9 a.m.

Sunset over Rocky Fork

Join park staff for a 360 degree view to watch the sunset from the highest elevation point at any Tennessee State Park on Saturday evening. Meet at the main parking lot at 6 p.m. for a strenuous 3-mile round trip hike to the Whitehouse Overlook. Bring: a headlamp or flashlight, appropriate clothes as the weather can change rapidly, closed-toes shoes, and a camera if desired. 

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

1651 West Elk AvenueElizabethton, (423) 543-5808.

Sycamore Shoals will celebrate on Saturday by “Walking in Frontier Footsteps” through the Sycamore Shoals grounds led by historic interpreter Chad Bogart at 1 p.m. Learn the role of the land in the frontier community and its impact on history. Participants should meet at the Fort Watauga behind the Visitor Center. Hike will be cancelled if weather does not allow. No pets. 

Warrior’s Path State Park

490 Hemlock Rd., Kingsport, 423-239-8531.

Help keep Warriors Path State Park clean for National Public Lands Day on Saturday September 22. Volunteers will meet at the pool parking lot at 10 a.m. to begin their day of working to maintain the ground for visitors by clearing brush, clearing flower beds and cleaning recent storm damage. Participants are asked to wear clothes that can get dirty and bring work gloves and water. 

David Crockett State Park

1400 West Gaines, Lawrenceburg, (931) 762-9408. 

Enjoy a nice guided hike from park rangers to view Saturday’s sunset at David Crockett State Park at 6 p.m. The group will arrive at the western terminus in time to see the sun set. The mile-long hike will last only an hour and a half and hikers are asked to bring a flashlight and bug spray.The group will meet at the Crockett’s Mill Restaurant. 

6-7:30 p.m.: Join Park Rangers for a guided sunset hike down a section of the Trail of Tears. Hike toward the setting sun just like the Cherokees did years ago. Arrive at the western terminus in time to watch the sun fade behind the hills, and reflect on our past and future. The hike will return at dusk to witness the changes that night brings to the land. Remember a flashlight, and bug spray. The hike will be approximately a mile and will be easy in difficulty.

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