Celebrate Public Lands Day at a state park this weekend

Published 11:44 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

Across the state residents are invited participate in National Public Lands Day by visiting a state park and taking part in special activities planned for this weekend.
Saturday marks National Public Lands Day and in honor of the event, Tennessee State Parks, State Natural Areas and Friends Groups are providing a wide variety of activities, hikes, volunteer projects and interpretive programs across the state.
“As the Volunteer State, we hope all Tennesseans will consider joining us to take responsibility for the beautiful lands we get to call home,” Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Conservation Brock Hill said. “This day of service and helps to improve the condition and splendor of our public lands for the greater enjoyment of all who care to visit or live here.”
Here locally, both Sycamore Shoals State Park and Roan Mountain State Park have special events on tap for the day.
This year, National Public Lands Day falls on the same weekend as the annual Overmountain Victory Celebration at Sycamore Shoals State Park, which works out quite well for the park’s special program.
“For the Public Lands Day hike I always do a walk through the park and tell the story of the Overmountain Men,” Sycamore Shoals Historic Interpreter Chad Bogart said. “I will take them along the trail and we will make certain stops along the way.”
“I give them a little snippet of Rev. Samuel Doaks’ sermon,” he added. “They get their hiking in and a little history too.”
At Roan Mountain State Park participants in the National Public Lands Day event will have the chance to get down and dirty on the park’s trails.
This volunteer service event will see participants heading out to work on clearing, cutting or blazing trails at the park.
Those wishing to take part in the event should meet at Park Headquarters — located at 1015 Highway 143 in Roan Mountain — at 10 a.m. The event will continue until 3 p.m.
Participants are advised to wear long pants and clothes they can get dirty, sturdy closed-toed shoes or boots and to bring work gloves. Park officials also recommend volunteers bring drinking water, snacks, hats, jackets and sunscreen.
The project will take a lunch break from Noon until 1 p.m. so volunteers should either bring a lunch with them or be prepared to purchase lunch at a local restaurant.
The trail maintenance project is considered to be “moderately strenuous” and will require hiking of up to three miles and the use of hand tools. As such, park officials say this event is best suited to participants ages 16 and older.

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