Tennessee State Parks would like to inform the general public that the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area, which is a portion of the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, will be closed in June, and will reopen on July 1.
The temporary closure will block off the park entrance at Montlake Road in Hamilton County, along with the trail head. Maintenance, construction, visitor protection, and resource protection projects are scheduled in response to damage from years of unauthorized parking, trampling and erosion.
Volunteers are needed to assist with the rehabilitation efforts on June 6, 9, 14, 17, 21, 25 and 28. Five new trails will be developed as designated access points to the banks of Chickamauga Creek. All of the rogue trails will be closed, so the natural area grounds can be improved. Volunteers should bring gloves, food and drink, insect repellant and wear pants and boots.
“In an effort to preserve and protect the fragile environment in this section of the park, our Division of Natural Areas has recommended a temporary closure in order for these significant species to rejuvenate,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner for Parks and Conservation. “During this time, our park staff will be enhancing the trail system, as well as making efforts to provide a safe and fun experience for park guests at ‘North Chick’.”
The North Chickamauga Creek Gorge acquisition was completed using a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Land Acquisition Grant. The objective of this grant-funded land acquisition project was to protect and conserve the habitat and known occurrences of three federally listed species: large-flowered skullcap (Scutellaria montana), Virginia spiraea (Spiraea virginiana), and bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
Volunteer registration is available by contacting 423 566-2229 or Marcianne.Oday@tn.gov. For more information about the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, visit http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/cumberland-trail.
Volunteer opportunities include:
Thursday, May 29
On May 29, a volunteer work day will be held on the Cumberland Trail. The day will include a visit to Mushroom Rock, Tennessee’s most impressive sandstone pedestal, and to a stretch of North Suck Creek. Repair of the 225-foot suspension bridge is the focus of this volunteer activity. Volunteers should meet at the Shackleford Ridge Park picnic shelter parking area at 9 a.m. and bring gloves, water and lunch. For more information or to register as a volunteer, contact Daniel.Basham@tn.gov, 423 322-5160 or 423 566-2229.
This volunteer opportunity features construction of the Cumberland Trail along a sky-high ridgeline in Campbell County, northeast of LaFollette. Volunteers are invited to join trail construction five days per week with AmeriCorps and the State Park Trail Crew. June 10,17, and 24 are featured volunteer days. Volunteer registration is required by contacting 423 566-2229 or Mark.Stanfill@tn.gov. AmeriCorps Volunteers will assist with construction and volunteer training.
Volunteers are needed June 6, 9, 14, 17, 21, 25, 28 at North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area to improve visitor safety and protection of natural features at the site. Five new trails will be developed as designated access points to the banks of a spectacular river. Rogue trails will be closed, and the natural area grounds will be improved. The trailhead will be closed to the general public during June. Volunteers should bring gloves, food and drink, insect repellant and wear pants and boots. Volunteer registration is available by contacting 423 566-2229 or Marcianne.Oday@tn.gov.