Friends of South Cumberland State Park kicks off 2017 hiking challenge

For the past several years, Friends of South Cumberland has presented a hiking challenge each year, designed to encourage visitors to explore South Cumberland State Park’s over 25,500 acres scattered across four counties. Last year’s challenge was called Hike Into History and focused on historical aspects of the park.

This year’s challenge, Hiking in Mack’s Tracks, is dedicated to Tennessee’s well-known and admired State Naturalist Emeritus Mack Prichard. It recognizes the extensive work he has done across Tennessee, but especially in the South Cumberland region, as an advocate for nature.

The Friends of South Cumberland will host a kickoff event Feb. 25, 2017 at the Dutch Maid Bakery in Tracy City. At a 9:30 a.m. brunch, memberships (new or renewing) will be offered with a $5 discount. Following brunch, you can head over to the South Cumberland State Park visitors center on Highway 41 in Monteagle to catch a shuttle to Raven Point for a hike on the newly rerouted section of the Fiery Gizzard Trail. This will save you 8 miles of hiking in and out from the Grundy Forest trailhead just to get to that section of trail.

Again this year, there will be two categories of hikes: the Discovery Series and the Adventurer Series. The Discovery Series hikes are family-friendly, easy-to-moderate, self-guided hikes that follow some of the same routes where Prichard led expeditions in the 1970s when generating support for the creation of the park.

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