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Balmy Presidents Day brings lots of outdoor activity

John Thompson • Updated Feb 21, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Spring is exactly a month away, but it was hard to believe the calendar on a Presidents Day to remember Monday.

The parks in Johnson City were full of activity, as individuals and families took advantage of the near 70-degree weather to enjoy yet another warm spell in what has been a warm winter.

“We have had a lot of families enjoying the parks as a result of the holiday and the schools being out and the nice weather,” James Ellis, of the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department, said. “Most folks are just enjoying getting outside after being cooped up indoors. He said there have been a lot of families enjoying picnics. It was first come, first served at the picnic grounds because winter rules still applied.

“Winged Deer Park has been heavily used today, there are a lot of fathers out here teaching their sons how to bat and pitch and there are a lot of moms showing their kids how to kick a soccer ball.”

Ellis said all of the parks were busy Monday except for Rotary, which is closed for construction and installation of the new splash pad.

Pine Oaks Golf Course was also having a great Presidents Day, according to Austin Thomas. “We have had between 150 and 200 people today, that is unreal for a Monday in February.”

The golfers enjoyed a course that was in outstanding shape for wintertime and weather that allowed them to golf in shirtsleeves. 

The most popular spot to enjoy the spring-like weather was the Tweetsie Trail, where the parking lot at the trailhead was full to overflowing with parked cars and the trail was abuzz with bikers, runners and walkers.

The trail was enjoyed by people of all ages, including many riding in baby strollers. That included two mothers pushing double passenger carriages. Krissie Hoff was pushing her children, Hudson and Ford, alongside her friend Kathy Pennington, who was pushing her children, Samuel and Juliette. 

“They have had a great time,” Hoff said of all of four children. “They love to go outside and run. They have been running a lot on the trail.”

“We had lunch on the trail, said Pennington.

Older folks also enjoyed running on the trail. “We ran out two miles and back two miles” said one of two women who was trying to catch their breath after a sprint to the finish. They said Monday’s weather was not that unusual. “We have had a lot of good days to run this winter.”

Not everyone on the trail on Monday was playing. James Hughes, of the Johnson City Street Department, was busy providing maintenance. Hughes said he was busier than normal for a Monday.

Elyse Hagner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, said the warm weather will continue throughout the week, although not quite as nice as Monday.

“It was a gorgeous day today,” Hagner said. She predicted the rest of the week will continue to be warm, but there are also some showers in the forecast through Wednesday.

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