Sycamore Shoals becomes first ‘certified site’ on National Historic Trail

Published 7:40 pm Monday, September 25, 2017

After a group of historic re-enactors recreated the crossing of the Watauga River by the Overmountain Men, the group gathered with visitors to Sycamore Shoals State Park for the dedication of the first “Certified Site” marker on the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.

The marker was placed by the National Park Service marking Sycamore Shoals as a significant site along the National Historic Trail honoring the muster, march, and victory of the Overmountain Men during the American Revolution.

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“Thanks to our partnership between Tennessee State Parks and the National Park Service we were able to receive grant money to plant their first monument to the Overmountain Victory Trail here in front of our monument to the Overmountain Men,” Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park Manager Jennifer Bauer said.

The marker is placed in the flagstones in front of the statue honoring the Overmountain Men at the entrance to the park’s Visitor’s Center.

Joining Bauer in dedicating the marker was Ben Richardson of the National Park Service. Richardson works with oversight of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks which includes the South Carolina sites of Cowpens National Battlefield, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ninety Six National Historic Site, as well as the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail which will stretch through Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“We were able to certify Sycamore Shoals as a ‘Certified Overmountain Victory Trail Site,’” Richardson told those in attendance. The marker at Sycamore Shoals is the first certified site marker to be placed along the historic trail, and Richardson said other site certifications and marker placements are in the works.

The National Park Service is currently working on plans to build a historic walking trail from Abingdon, Virginia, to Sycamore Shoals and then on to Kings Mountain, Richardson said. The project is still in the planning and partnership phase at this time, but Richardson said later this fall the National Park Service would begin holding public meetings in hopes of reaching out to property owners and garnering their support for the trail.

According to Richardson, the National Park Service does not own much of the land that would encompass the trail, and so it has to partner with parks like Sycamore Shoals and with local landowners to help make the trail a reality.