The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: big south fork national river and recreation area

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GATLINBURG — The director of the National Park Service is expected in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Saturday to celebrate National Public Lands Day.

Director Chuck Sams plans to make some remarks in appreciation for the volunteers who help backstop national park maintenance costs before citizens fan out for various tasks across the park. Sams is the first Native American to head the park service, and he will be joined by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Chief Richard G. Sneed.

Published in Earth

Big South Fork wild hogsWild hogs are seen rooting in a sensitive area. Hog season opens later this month in Big South Fork.  National Park Service

ONEIDA — Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area this week announced regulations for those wanting to kill invasive wild hogs during the 2022 fall and winter seasons.

Most hog populations within the protected areas of BSF are believed to be present on the Tennessee side of the park, which spans the Kentucky border. Feral hogs have been present in East Tennessee for generations. They destroy local flora and fauna mainly by rooting in low-lying mountain and valley areas. They are especially fond of salamanders, many species of which are in grave decline. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hunters are regularly deployed to cull hogs throughout the park.

“The wild hog is an invasive exotic species that has a significant negative impact to native species and do a great deal of damage to farmlands and residential areas. The damage they cause threatens park resources including federally listed plants,” according to a release from the park service. 

Published in Earth

OBED DSP Poster Web 

2021 economic numbers prove small parks have big impacts

ONEIDA — Both the Obed National Wild and Scenic River and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area offer wilderness options free of the hassles associated with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the country.

The Cumberland Plateau-area destinations continue to grow in popularity as more tourists seek solace in nature, a trend that began during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those tourists also spend millions of dollars in nearby rural communities, some of which face chronic economic challenges.

Published in News
Friday, 14 January 2022 12:10

Big South Fork closes 60-acre donut hole

Cliffs on the Big South Fork NPS photoNational Park Service

Land conservancy and estate of long-ago German immigrant expands protection of North White Oak Creek

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area has grown inward by 60 acres.

The National Park Service announced this week that it officially acquired the donated acreage along North White Oak Creek within Big South Fork. It had previously been in private ownership.

The Allardt Land Company and the estate of Bruno Gernt (a remarkable individual in his own right) originally donated the approximately 60 acres within the boundaries of Big South Fork to TennGreen Land Conservancy. In December 2021, TennGreen transferred the property to the National Park Service.

“This tract provides essential protection for the south side of North White Oak Creek, a popular area in the southwest portion of the (125,000-acre park that straddles the Tennessee and Kentucky state lines in the Cumberlands).

“Park visitors will now forever be able to enjoy peaceful views across the creek of an oak-hickory and northern hardwood forest canopy,” Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas said in a press release.

“We truly appreciate the Allardt Land Company, Estate of Bruno Gernt, and TennGreen for their generosity.”

Published in News

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The National Park Service and officials with Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area are still looking for those responsible for dumping derelict vehicles in a remote part of the park known as Blue Hole.

Park staff found two vehicles and a boat illegally discarded in a section of the park closed to traffic. The junk was discovered Aug. 26 and staff and rangers had to pulled from other projects to clean up the mess.

Park staff recovered an abandoned vehicle, UTV, and boat from the Blue Hole section of the park that appeared to have been dumped in separate incidents.

“The resulting cleanup pulled staff away from planned trail work and public safety duties. Additionally, illegally dumping trash and other items create a negative visitor experience for those hoping to enjoy the serene natural beauty of Big South Fork NRRA,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas in a press release.

“Visitors are reminded that abandoning property in the park is prohibited by federal law.”

Anyone with information concerning these incidents is encouraged to contact the NPS at 423-223-4489 or leave a confidential message on the Resource Protection Tip Line at 423-569-7301.

The 24-hour tip line allows callers to remain anonymous.

Published in Feedbag

Brace fishingA Knoxville man tries his hand at fly fishing in Abrams Creek during a family camping trip on the southwestern side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Thomas Fraser/Hellbender Press

Green begets green in Smokies region; Big South Fork and Cumberland Gap also economic players

Recent federal analysis of spending by national park visitors is a testament to the economic benefits of environmental protection, scientific study and outdoor recreation.

The 12.1 million visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2020 spent $1.024 billion in neighboring communities in both Tennessee and North Carolina, according to a study released this week by the National Park Service. Similar, localized releases were distributed into national park communities across the country.

Closer to home, that number represents the estimated visitor money spent in areas that include traditional “gateway” communities, such as Townsend and Gatlinburg, and Cherokee and Bryson City in North Carolina. Regionally, it’s at least a $5 million increase since 2012. Travel problems, housing and employee shortages, overdevelopment and environmental destruction are of course persistent in some of those areas.

Published in Earth
Independent Herald: Big South Fork sets record flow and depth rates
The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River rose to its highest level in 25 years and washed out recreation facilities and bridges in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area during pounding rains that moved over the plateau and Tennessee Valley late last week and over the weekend.
River velocity rates rose to an astonishing 81,200 cfs over the weekend. That's a measure of how much water passes per second at a given point. The river crested at 42.5 feet.
"Five days ago marked the 92nd anniversary of the historic March 1929 flood that caused catastrophic damage in Scott County," the news site reported.
"On Sunday, local rivers reached their highest levels since that 1929 flood, after numerous thunderstorms dumped as much as eight inches of rain over portions of Scott and Morgan counties in a 24-hour period."

 

Published in Feedbag
WVLT: Public comment sought on fee increases

Bandy Creek, Blue Heron and Alum Ford campground fees would increase costs to between $15 and $140, depending on use. Comments will be accepted through March 22.

Published in Action Alert Archive