David Haskell speaks about the Friends at Trails & Trilliums
David Haskell, author of the acclaimed book, The Forest Unseen, talks about the Friends during the Wine
& Wildflowers event at Trails and Trilliums. Haskell was honored as the recipient of the Yeatman
Environmental Education Award.
Second Savage Gulf Marathon: "Brutal Yet Beautiful"
On March 16, the second Savage Gulf Marathon, a 26-mile race through the heart of
Savage Gulf State Natural Area, was tackled by 65 ambitious runners from all across the
region. The event is sponsored by the Tennessee Park Rangers Association with
assistance from the Friends of South Cumberland. The winner, who set a new course
record, was Brian Schmidt or Leesburg VA, with a time of 4:21:04! The course began at
Great Stone Door, included the Collins Loop, wound up Big Creek trail to the top at Alum
Gap and back to the Stone Door. The runners called the trail “brutal yet beautiful.” One
described the course as “barbaric, uncivilized, viscous, and merciless with boulder after
boulder mixed in amongst rocky creek beds and hundreds of roots over the 26.2 miles.
However, it is the most beautiful race I’ve done. It has 10 waterfalls, swinging bridges,
mixed in with over 5,000 ft. of elevation gain and 5,000 ft of elevation loss as well.”
photo provided by Jessica Phillips
Racers descending rock steps below Stone Door
George poses with a group of Grundy County fifth
graders after leading them on a Stone Door hike.
George Shinn Chosen Ranger of the Year in
George Shinn, who has been a South Cumberland State Park ranger for 13 years and is
stationed at Savage Gulf, was recently selected Park Ranger of the Year by the
Tennessee Park Rangers Association. According to fellow South Cumberland ranger Bill
Knapp, “George is an honest, organized, and professional ranger. He supports his
co-workers however he can. He is there to bring up morale or to lend a helping hand.”
Park Manager John Christof added, "Ranger George Shinn works in a very large and
complex park. Many park managers in the Tennessee State Park system are responsible
for parks much smaller than the area the one he is assigned to and have more help to
operate their parks. We are happy that George has been recognized by his peers for the
good work he does at Savage Gulf."
Rangers can now be seen on two wheels instead of four,
thanks to a gift of 3 mountain bikes from the Friends of
South Cumberland State Park. At left, Ranger Jason
Reynolds and Park Manager John Christof.
FSC Purchases Mountain Bikes for
South Cumberland Rangers
In December, South Cumberland State Park manager John Christof came to the
Friends of South Cumberland Board with a unique request. The rangers want
bikes! Across the country, park rangers are finding that bikes are ideal for use in
the backcountry. The SC rangers believed that for some of their duties they could
exchange their pickup trucks and 4-wheelers for mountain bikes, which are more
The Friends of South Cumberland (FSC) was delighted to fund this request.
Ten-Year Ranger Jason Reynolds, who implemented the project, said, “Access to
state money is always a problem, and with the current budget restraints, the
purchasing of ‘non essentials’ is even more difficult. Thank goodness we've got a
lovely stock of excellent Friends who always come through!” The three Trek
mountain bikes outfitted with racks and packs cost $650 each. “We try to purchase
locally when possible,” Reynolds said, “and Woody Deutsch of Woody’s Bicycles in
Sewanee helped us out on the cost.” Currently one bike is stationed at Stone Door,
one at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station, and one at the Visitors Center/Fiery
click photo to play 2 minute video
The Friends of South
Cumberland State Recreation
Area, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit
public benefit corporation.