State Natural Areas Program Offers Mid-Winter Hike At Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Natural Areas will host a guided day hike at Virgin Falls State Natural Area in White County on Saturday.

Stewardship Ecologist Forrest Evans will take hikers on a journey through the scenic beauty of one of Tennessee’s best-loved hiking trails. The strenuous eight-mile trail to the falls descends off of the Plateau and meanders along a creek, passing caves, sinks and waterfalls. This strenuous backcountry hiking trip involves negotiating difficult trail situations, and hikers should be in good physical condition.

Hikers will have lunch at the falls, which offers remarkable views. The trail then backtracks up and out of the gulf to the parking area. Participants should meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Nashville Kroger parking lot located at 5544 Old Hickory Boulevard (near Summit Medical Center) in Hermitage. Participants will carpool and caravan to the trail head. 

Hikers should arrive dressed for the weather. In addition to wearing layers of clothing and sturdy boots, participants should bring lunch and plenty of water. 

Reservations are required by Friday, and can be made by contacting Forrest Evans at 615 532-0431 or Forrest.Evans@tn.gov. Consult a weather report before the trip, as the hike will be canceled in the event of rain or predicted rain.

Virgin Falls is a 1,157-acre natural area located adjacent to the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness in White County. The natural area is named for Virgin Falls, which is formed by an underground stream that emerges from a cave, and then drops over a 110-foot high cliff before disappearing into another cave at the bottom of the sink. The area is noted for its unique geological features and several other waterfalls including Big Laurel, Sheep Cave Falls and Big Branch Falls. The deep gorges are heavily wooded and are ecologically diverse supporting various aged second growth mixed mesophytic and oak-hickory forest.  For information about Virgin Falls, including a map of the area, please visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/virgin/.    

Hikers interested in overnight accommodations are encouraged to contact Cumberland Mountain or Fall Creek Falls state parks, which offer a variety of choices.  Please visit www.tnstateparks.com for additional details.

More information about Tennessee’s natural areas program, including a complete list of all natural areas, is available at www.tn.gov/environment/na/


Tour Of Chattanooga Area Rose Gardens Open Mother's Day Weekend

Members of The Tri-State Rose Society of Chattanooga are opening wide the gates of their private gardens to the public on Mothers’ Day weekend: Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14. Five rose gardens will be featured in Chattanooga, Hixson, East Brainerd and Soddy Daisy. "A favorite garden from past tours is that of Jeff and Cindy Garrett, who have been heroes in the cause ... (click for more)

TVA Warns Of Dam Dangers Due To Record Rains

With all the precipitation, records for rainfall and runoff have been broken, and TVA is racing to outpace the water and manage flooding across the system. Much hydropower generation is happening throughout the Valley, and many dams are spilling—that is, releasing water through the top of the dam to move it downriver. Dams routinely spill at rates of around a million gallons ... (click for more)

Severe Thunderstorms Cause Damage On Signal Mountain; Widespread Power Outages Reported

Severe thunderstorms that came through around  7:30 p.m.  brought trees down on Signal Mountain, and widespread power outages were reported. Two homes that had damage were at  205 Sunnybrook, with eaves and gutter damage, and  601 Dunsinane Road, with major damage to the roof line and a tree fell through the living room area. No injuries were ... (click for more)

Rescuers Called Out After Male Hits Head After Fall From Rope Swing; He And Companions Trapped On One Side Of The Creek

Rescue crews were setting up a safety line at the first creek crossing at the Pocket Wilderness at the foot of Mowbray Mountain after a male was injured on Saturday night and he and his companions were blocked by high water. Around 7:30 p.m. , a 911 call was made reporting the male had fallen from a man-made rope swing and hit his head on the rocks below at the Blue Hole ... (click for more)

Whatever Happened To The People's Game Warden?

Earlier this year a Chattanoogan.com article published a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency  (TWRA) Wildlife Officer encouraging readers to turn in anyone keeping or caring for an orphaned raccoon, squirrel, bunny or deer, because it may have rabies or pose a danger to some fictitious person.   In another  article, the TWRA Officer invaded a girl's home, seized ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Einstein Explains Insanity

In September of 2002, a detailed study of “Tennessee Schools on Notice” was prepared by the state’s Office of Education Accountability. This was when Senator Bob Corker was the Mayor of Chattanooga and it proves, pretty thoroughly I might add, that after millions upon millions of extra dollars have been poured down the collective drains at schools such as Orchard Knob, Clifton Hills, ... (click for more)