Tellico Wild event offers free outdoor activities Aug. 9-10

Daily Post Athenian
Athens, Tennessee

July 30, 2014
Autumn Hughes TELLICO PLAINS –

TELLICO PLAINS – Tennessee Wild is hosting a weekend of free outdoor activities to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Wilderness Act of 1964, and to support protecting special forest places while promoting the Tellico Region and Cherokee National Forest as the ideal destination for outdoor recreation in the southeast.

Get ready to explore and learn about public lands with “Tellico Wild: Explore Our Big Backyard – a weekend of wilderness on the Cherokee National Forest.” This is a free celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act and the official dedication ceremony of Tellico Plains as a Trail Town – a way to connect Americans to their public lands.

On Aug. 9-10, participants will have the opportunity to spend time in the forest with conservationists, biologists, historians and outfitters learning about and exploring their public lands. Commercially-run outings of this magnitude would normally cost hundreds of dollars to attend, but are being offered at no charge by Tennessee Wild and its partners.

To celebrate the forest, the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and to get people active outdoors, Tennessee Wild invites you to join us for guided hikes into designated wilderness areas, or give a little back to our public lands on a trail crew for a stewardship project. Learn about the diverse flora and fauna of the forest on an interpretive hike or while snorkeling with expert USFS guides in Citico Creek. Get the hang of Stand Up Paddleboarding, learn to take better pictures with your point and shoot or smartphone – or just take a deep breath and enjoy some time in the great outdoors – all free of charge!

Saturday, Aug. 9

* Guided hikes on the Cherokee National Forest – Brookshire Creek, Sycamore Creek and Unicoi Turnpike Trail.

* Interpretive hikes –

Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts, and Old Growth and Recovering Forest.

* Stand Up Paddleboard demos by Rock/Creek – Beginners welcome.

* Trail Stewardship Trip – Brushing the Jeffrey Hell Trail with the SAWS crew.

* Tellico Plains “Trail Town” Dedication and Ceremony at 5 p.m. – Celebrate the official Trail Town designation then stick around for some food, prizes, music and fun. At the Outpost Pavilion in Tellico Plains.

Sunday, Aug. 10

* Guided hikes on the Cherokee National Forest – Bald River Gorge, Mill Branch Loop and Unicoi Turnpike Trail.

* Simply Better Pictures: Tips, tricks and techniques.

* Stand Up Paddleboard Demos by Rock/Creek – Beginners welcome.

* Snorkel Citico Creek – With an expert guide, explore the abundant life in one of the most biologically rich creeks in the United States.

Full schedule and registration available at www.MeetUp.com/Tennessee-Wild or Facebook/TennesseeWild

Come learn more about a key effort to protect special places in Tennessee. The Tennessee Wilderness Act, currently awaiting a Senate vote, will safeguard nearly 20,000 acres of public land, expanding the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock, Big Frog, Little Frog, Big Laurel Branch and Sampson Mountain wilderness areas and creating the new 9,000-acre Upper Bald River Wilderness Area. Wilderness designation ensures clean drinking water for communities downstream, protects critical habitat for the abundant species of fish and wildlife of the forest, and offers first class outdoor recreation opportunities that are vital to the prosperity of small towns like Tellico Plains. And, it costs the American taxpayer nothing.

Tennessee Wild is dedicated to protecting wilderness on the Cherokee National Forest for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. We aim to educate the public about the benefits of wilderness and promote volunteerism and the sound stewardship of Tennessee’s wild places. Passage of the Tennessee Wilderness Act will protect nearly 20,000 acres on the Cherokee National Forest by creating the Upper Bald River Wilderness Area and adding additional acreage to Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock, Big Frog, and Little Frog Wilderness areas in Southeast Tennessee, and to Sampson Mountain and Big Laurel Branch Wilderness areas in Northeast Tennessee. This act will create the first new wilderness in Tennessee since 1986, and honor the 50th Anniversary of The Wilderness Act of 1964.