Recreational use updates completed at Hampton Creek Cove Natural Area

Published 3:41 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023

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Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) and partners at the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) Division of Natural Areas have announced the completion of new bridges and other updates to improve outdoor recreation at Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of infrastructure and trail updates to improve access and recreational use of Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area,” said SAHC’s Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett. “This has been an extensive, multi-partner process, and we are grateful for all of the funders and volunteers who helped finish the trail updates. The creation of new bridges across the creek will help protect water quality while improving hiking experiences. New signage, parking area updates, and other trail improvements will help make the area more accessible for visitors.”
TDEC provided additional project support through a $200,000 TN Recreational Trails Program grant for the replacement of pedestrian bridges in Hampton Creek Cove. SAHC and volunteers donated more than $50,000 in materials, staff time, and labor, and TDEC’s Division of Natural Areas also donated more than $25,000 in materials, time and labor. The project was conducted in partnership with TDEC’s Division of Natural Areas and received additional monetary support from the Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Tennessee Trails Association Evan Means grant. The East TN Trails Association and Eagle Scout Otto Smith with NC Boy Scouts Troop 61 assisted with the improvements. In addition to two new bridges, the project also involved trail improvements, installation of an ADA parking access, new trail signs, information kiosk updates, and more, all to improve recreation access while protecting sensitive habitats.
“This was a substantial project to take on for both SAHC and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation,” said Lisa Huff, east region stewardship ecologist with TDEC’s Division of Natural Areas. “We are grateful to SAHC for their assistance on the grant application and administration. These improvements will create a better experience for visitors to an area with such historic and ecological significance.”
The 693-acre natural cove is located just outside the Town of Roan Mountain, a 10-minute drive from Roan Mountain State Park. The upper reaches of the cove adjoin Cherokee National Forest, and a portion of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail runs through the length of the cove. Visitors can create hikes of varying lengths with different segments of the Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area trail system. Open fields and pasture areas on the historic farm site create excellent habitat for diverse birds and wildlife. Public recreation on the property includes birding, hiking, fishing, and hunting.
SAHC protected tract in 1986 and transferred ownership to the State of TN; since then, SAHC has assisted the State of Tennessee with management of the property.

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