Due to budget cuts and staff shortages, the South Cumberland State Park rangers have been unable to keep the Visitors Center in Tracy City open during the prescribed hours. Thanks to volunteer Dr. Jack Furman and a new FSC initiative called "Back the Rangers" Project, the Friends have stepped in to fill the gap. For 20 years the mission of the Friends of South Cumberland (FSC) has been to support the rangers in keeping the park a welcoming and wonderful place to visit, and the FSC is now seeking additional volunteer support to ensure this continues.
When Furman visited a national park in California this summer where the visitors center was entirely staffed by volunteers, he returned with a renewed commitment to this idea. "When I participated in the Tennessee Naturalist Program, one of the main areas stressed was that TNP participants should volunteer. I wanted to make a contribution and clearly this is a vital need for the park," he said. "It's discouraging to arrive at a visitors center to find it closed with only a few brochures outside. Everyone has questions and they are so appreciative to have a person to talk to them about the park." Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact Jack Furman, tfurman@comcast.net The next volunteer training session is scheduled for Sat., Sept. 20.
FSC Launches "Back the Rangers" Project
Seeks Additional Volunteers at Visitors Center
Friends of South Cumberland Annual Meeting at the Visitor Center
12th Annual
Trails & Trilliums
April 10-12, 2015

Click to see 2014 pictures
Trails and Trilliums

A 3-day festival of guided hikes on trails in South Cumberland State Park, workshops, ART for the PARK, native plant sale, and free children's events including ropes course, hayrides, and wildlife. This unique event, held on the historic Monteagle Sunday School Assembly grounds, is a fundraiser for the Friends of South Cumberland-one of the leading land preservation groups in the state.

The Friends of South Cumberland State Recreation Area, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit corporation.
Savage Gulf/Stone Door Trail Map
Fiery Gizzard and Buggytop Trail Maps
"The goal of Hike 14 is to introduce people to each of the trailheads of the South Cumberland Parks," said Naullain. "The truly ambitious hikers will want to do the full trails described in Mary's book, which includes a number of all-day hikes in 120 miles of hiking." Those elite hikers will be inducted into the Hiked Em All Club. A hiker who covers the introductory Hike 14 trails will receive a certificate, trail map bandana, and a year's membership to the FSC. "If you hike a portion of all 14, you will have been introduced to some of the most spectacular scenery to be found in the state," says Priestley, "and will learn about the longer, more challenging trails in the park."

Hikes will be offered throughout the year, with multiple chances for each trail. So, if you have not yet entered the challenge, there is still plenty of time. Hikers may join in the FSC-organized events, attend ranger-led hikes, or make the hikes on their own.

HIKE # 12 Savage Ranger Station / Hobbs Cabin Loop Overnight
October 15 at 10:30 am to October 16 at 3:00 pm
This will be an overnight trip limited to 10 campers. We will meet at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station where you can drop off everything you don't want to carry for the hike itself. We will then hike over 11 miles the first day including all of the North Plateau Trail. We will camp overnight at Hobbs Cabin where your backpacks and gear will be waiting for you. We will provide supper and breakfast at the cabin. The next day we will hike almost 9 miles including all of the North Rim Trail ending up back at the ranger station where you can pick up your packs and gear. This is a great opportunity to hike these incredible trails without the burden of a heavy pack or all the gear normally required for a backpacking trip. You will need to supply your own sleep gear. Supper and breakfast are the only meals provided, so you will need to supply and carry your own water, snacks, lunches, etc. for the hikes. You will need to register for this hike by contacting Naullain Kendrick at naullain@hotmail.com. The first 10 to register will receive an email confirmation. This is the first time we have attempted an overnight and is a testing of the waters so to speak, but if there is enough interest in this type of trip, we will start a waiting list and may try another later on this fall.

To sign up for these and other hikes in your area, check out
"Hike All 14 in 2014" Challenge Launches with 65 Hikers!
In February the FSC initiated the "Hike All 14 in 2014" Challenge to introduce people to each of the 14 hikes listed In Mary Priestley's guide to hiking in the South Cumberland State Park, "Hike Em All." Hike 14 Chair Naullain Kendrick was delighted when 65 participants showed up at the Visitors Center on Feb. 8. Hikers came from Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and many other surrounding cities to get started on this year-long venture.
FSC President, Ty Burnette (left), conducted the Annual Meeting and made the opening remarks. George Shinn (middle), Acting Park Manager, gave us an informative update on the South Cumberland State Park. Bill Avant (right), Manager-GIS and Land Acquisition with the Department of Enviroment & Conversation with the State of Tennessee, gave us an overview of what the State is doing in the way of land acquisition and specifically as it applied to the South Cumberland Plateau and the park system.
Wallace Bigbee (left), long-time advocate for the State Park and instrumental in the formation of Savage Gulf and Ty Burnette (right), FSC President.
Carey Coker (left) was honored with the 2014 Jim Prince Award for his years of dedicated service as the FSC newsletter designer. The award was presented by FSC Historian and previous Jim Prince recepient, Glenn Himebaugh.
We wouldl ike to welcome our newest FSC Board Members, Florence Wilson and Latham Davis.
Thanks to our volunteers that made the event a success! (left to right) Henry Blizzard, Lelia Blizzard, Ellen Himebaugh, Jean Jervis and Judy Magavero.
"Back the Rangers" Project is a new initiative of the Friends of South Cumberland that provides volunteers to staff the Visitors Center in Tracy City. The FSC is seeking more volunteers to ensure that park visitors are welcomed and informed. Pictured from left are Ranger Park Greer; Sue Chase, who works with visitors and is assisting with the training; and Dr. Jack Furman, who is the founder and chair of this volunteer project.
After meeting with Interim Park Manager George Shinn, Furman contacted potential FSC volunteers. Over 12 responded and the program launched in August, though not all the visitor center slots were filled. Ranger Park Greer and Furman designed a 2-hour training session that includes use of phones and ranger radios, information on the hiking trails as well as on the maps, video and museum that are located in the center. After the training session, volunteers may sign up for four-hour slots, either morning or afternoon, with a sign-up calendar sent out at the beginning of each month. Workers are also being sought to help rangers with trail maintenance and hemlock treatment in the park. In Nov. and Dec., volunteers are needed to help leaf blow all the trails. As the "Back the Rangers" program grows, staffing the now-closed Stone Door and Savage Gulf ranger stations will be considered.
According to Ranger Shinn, "Helping staff the visitors center is a huge service. The FSC involvement in the park grows more important every year." Ranger Greer added, "With budget cuts and more and more visitors coming, South Cumberland was in great need.The new volunteers are doing a great job of presenting a public face. Some volunteers are inside helping visitors select the right trail and some are outside to help maintain and beautify the park. We appreciate them all!"