Tennessee State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes to celebrate Earth Day 2013 beginning Saturday April 20 through Sunday, April 21. Each state park will host its own special hike, offering a variety of family-friendly activities including wildflowers or waterfalls talks, educational programming, guided historical hikes and re-enactments, and new trail openings.
From Big Hill Pond to Fall Creek Falls to Norris Dam and every state park in between, the Earth Day hikes are designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes will be approximately 1 mile in length and tailored for novice hikers, while others are lengthier and geared toward more experienced hikers. For a more in-depth look into planned Earth Day hikes in your area, please visit <www.tnstateparks.com>.
“Earth Day 2013 is officially slated for Monday, April 22, so we are getting a jumpstart on this worldwide day of recognition by hosting some fun, weekend hikes right here in Tennessee,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Celebrating its 43rd year, Earth Day is a wonderful time to become reacquainted with everything Tennessee’s 54 state parks and 83 natural areas have to offer – while promoting better, healthier habits in our communities.”
In addition to the variety of events planned throughout the weekend, an official Tennessee State Parks’ hiking stick medallion will be given away to the first 1,500 participants statewide.
The upcoming Earth Day hikes represent the second in a series of statewide hiking events of 2013 — joining Tennessee State Parks’ First Hikes effort in early January. Tennessee State Parks will hold additional hiking events during National Trails Day on June 1 and again in the fall during National Public Lands Day on September 28.
“Tennessee’s state parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, wild places, recreational opportunities and historic resources — together representing the heritage of our state’s unique landscape,” added TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “These hiking events offer individuals and families an opportunity to connect with these special outdoor places and they can do so close to home.”
Tennessee’s 54 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. Celebrating its 75th anniversary this past year, the Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937.
Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, with features such as pristine natural areas and a variety of lodging and dining choices. For more information about Tennessee State Parks, <visit www.tnstateparks.com> or connect via Facebook or Twitter. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call 1-888-867-2757.
Here is more information about hikes close to Lynchburg.
Tims Ford State Park (April 21 @ 2 p.m.)
The hike will begin at the park office. Join Ranger Ashlie on Sunday at the park office to hike the Lost Creek Overlook Trail. This is a moderate 2-mile hike, so wear sturdy shoes and bring water. More information is available at (931) 962-1183 or online at <www.tnstateparks.com/TimsFord>.
Henry Horton State Park (April 21 @ 1 p.m.)
Join Park Rangers at the Park Interpretive Center at the campground for a hike around the Hickory Ridge Nature loop 1.5-mile trail. Hikers will enjoy the geographical features of the Tennessee Central Basin from sinkholes, old growth forest, to Tennessee’s own desert habitat. This is an easy to moderate trail so wear good hiking shoes. Light refreshments and a tree planting will follow the hike. More information is available at (931) 364-7724.
Fall Creek Falls State Park (April 21 @ 2 p.m.)
Meet Ranger Matt Brown at the main overlook for Fall Creek Falls for a .8-mile roundtrip hike to the base of the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. We’ll discuss the unique ecological and geological aspects of the park on our trip. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring water for this short, but moderately strenuous hike. More information is available at 1-800-250-8611 or (423) 881-5298.
Rock Island State Park (April 21 @ 1 p.m.)
Help keep your park a beautiful haven for native plants and wildlife! Meet at Trailhead at the Twin Falls Overlook off Powerhouse Road for an invasive exotic removal on the downstream trail. Water, work gloves, long pants and pruners are recommended if you have them. We will be targeting the invasive Privet and Autumn Olive. In the event of possible rain the day before, of or after exotic removal will be canceled due to spread of chemicals. In this event, a guided hike on the downstream trail will be offered for any who wish to still come out and enjoy the day. RSVP with Dava Lundquist at (931) 686-2471, ext 4.