The Fall Hunt

November 28th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-7-44-50-amONEIDA, Tenn. — Picture this: a frosty autumn morning, the sun peeking over a distant mountaintop and casting its warming glow on the forest floor, the peaceful serenity of a Cumberland Plateau daybreak. As the first of the frost begins to melt from the golden-leafed white oaks and maples, sending dew drops falling to the ground below, squirrels begin scurrying about — first one, then another and still another, gathering acorns for the upcoming winter. The sound of the bushy-tailed gatherers scampering through the leaves, coupled with the occasional cry of a red-tailed hawk and the piercing call of a pileated woodpecker, creates a peaceful lull through the forest. Then, from around a bend in the ridge, the unmistakable and heart-quickening sound of footfalls in the newly-fallen leaves. A much larger animal is approaching. It’s likely a deer, but is it a buck or a doe? And, if it’s a “slick-head,” is the much larger trophy buck who’s been interrupting your dreams following closely behind?

This is the serenity of a November morning in the Cumberlands. The only thing missing is you, perched 25 ft. above the ground in a tree stand, or perhaps stalking carefully through the forest, keeping to the shadows to avoid being seen by your quarry.

If you can picture yourself in the Cumberlands for this year’s hunting season, you can be here. With hundreds of thousands of acres of publicly-accessible lands, there’s a spot for you.

Tennessee’s whitetail deer season opened in late September with the annual archery hunt. A youth-only gun hunt was held in late October, and the state’s muzzleloader hunt opened on Nov. 5.

During the muzzleloader season, which continues through Nov. 18, hunters can harvest up to two does, in addition to the two antlered bucks that they’re permitted through all the hunts combined. (No more than one antlered buck can be harvested per day.)

Tennessee’s gun hunt opens on Nov. 19 and continues through Jan. 8, 2017. Hunters are permitted one antlerless doe, in addition to their antlered buck quota.

Locally, hunters have two options for hunting public land. The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is 125,000 acres, while the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area is 140,000 acres. Both are open to hunting with seasons and bag limits that correspond with the statewide seasons.

Within the Big South Fork, hunting is permitted everywhere except for select safety zones. These safety zones are located around East Rim Overlook and park headquarters, Bandy Creek Campground, Oscar Blevins Farm, Station Camp Horse Camp, Station Camp river crossing, Charit Creek Lodge, Burnt Mill Bridge, Brewster Bridge, Peters Bridge and Leatherwood Ford. (Map of safety zones.)

The use of salt, minerals or food items to attract wildlife is prohibited in the Big South Fork. Hunters can use horses or, on select backcountry roads, ATVs to access their chosen hunting area, but cannot shoot from a horse or ATV. Permanent tree stands are prohibited in the BSF. Portable, temporary tree stands are permitted, but trimming trees to create “shooting lanes” is prohibited.

Baiting is also prohibited on the North Cumberland WMA. ATVs are permitted throughout the WMA, although shooting from an ATV is prohibited.

Tennessee law permits any centerfire rifle or handgun with a barrel of at least four inches during the gun hunt.

On both the Big South Fork NRRA and the North Cumberland WMA, wild hogs can be hunted during the deer hunting seasons. There is no harvest limit, and hogs do not have to be checked in online or at a big game checking station. Wild hogs can be found in abundance on the WMA, and in select locations within the Big South Fork. A special wild hog hunting permit is required in the Big South Fork and can be purchased here.

Tennessee hunting licenses and permits can be purchased here. For non-residents, an annual hunting license is $305 (Type 073), while a 7-day permit is $214.50 (Type 074). Either permit is all-inclusive, but does not include the National Park Service permit needed to hunt hogs in the Big South Fork, or the Type 094 permit needed to hunt big game on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. The Type 094, which covers all of Tennessee’s WMAs, is $25. For residents of Tennessee, an annual hunting license is $34 (Type 001). Supplemental tags are required for hunting big game. They are $34 each. (Type 009 for big game gun, Type 010 for big game archery, or Type 011 for big game muzzleloader.) The Type 094 permit is required to hunt big game on WMAs such as the North Cumberland.

Big South Fork Airpark Current Construction at a Glance!

November 14th, 2016

img_2704We are lucky to have so many people choose to make BSFA their home. And right now we have homes and hangars  under construction, new utilites being put underground and roads being paved throughout the development. Watch our video to get a peak at what is happening right now at Big South Fork Airpark.

Not sure what you would like to build or how to start? BSFA knows that building remotely can be stressful. In order to simplify the process we have an onsite construction company and a partnership with Moss Creek Homes. We have a representative on-site 7 days a week to make sure every element of building goes smoothly and as expected.

Watch Big South Fork Airpark Current Construction

BSFA Holiday Hours

November 10th, 2016

thanksgiving-westmont-ilMay your Thanksgiving Day be filled with happiness and cheer!

Big South Fork Airpark will be spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with friends and family, the office will be closed November 23rd – November 25th. 

Fall Is Here!

November 7th, 2016

img_5169Ready to relax and enjoy the cool weather?

Now is the perfect time to visit Big South Fork Airpark. Fall is quickly nearing its peak at the Airpark, and there is no better way to enjoy the scenery that autumn offers than with a drive through the northern Cumberland Plateau. Explore the fall foliage with a hike, scenic drive, or relaxing horseback ride. Along the way stop off at local historic attractions or drive into one of our region’s small towns for a quick lunch, and even grab a room at a local bed and breakfast and make a multi-day trip out of it.

Watch Local News Coverage on East Tennessee Leaves

 

Five Fall Hikes at Big South Fork

October 17th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-2-28-01-pmIt’s little wonder the busiest time of year in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is autumn.

The Big South Fork is special in any season, but it’s this time of year — October and early November — when the national park really comes into its own. You might say that autumn is the BSF’s wheelhouse. When the northern Cumberland Plateau is decked out in the orange and red hues of fall, there are few places in Tennessee that are as spectacular.

Even novice hikers can enjoy the best that autumn has to offer in the Big South Fork. From trails that are literally little more than a leisurely stroll through the woods — like the two-mile Angel Falls Trail, or the 1.5-mile Bandy Creek Loop Trail — to trails that take you into the heart of the BSF backcountry, there are a number of ways to experience fall up-close and personal here.

Leaves are just beginning to turn in the Big South Fork. But over the next couple of weeks, the autumn season will begin to progress rapidly. By the third and fourth weeks of October, the fall foliage will likely be at its peak. With mild temperatures and plenty of dry, sunny days, this is an excellent time to get out and explore the trails.

So, with that in mind, here are five easy trails that offer spectacular scenery during the fall foliage season:

1.) Middle Creek Loop Trail: Located on Divide Road on the western side of the Big South Fork, the Middle Creek Loop requires a bit of a drive from Oneida — about 30 minutes. But the scenery here more than makes up for it. Besides, a drive along the gravel, sometimes one-lane Divide Road is worth a trip in and of itself when the leaves are changing. The 3.5-mile loop is one of the most under-rated hiking trails — not just in the Big South Fork, but all of Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains not withstanding. The hike is mostly flat, with just 100 feet of elevation change spread over the three and a half miles. The trail is dotted with spectacular rock formations and meanders through a variety of hardwood forests. The hike begins and ends at the Middle Creek Trailhead on Divide Road, two miles off S.R. 154 in Pickett County.

2.) Grand Gap Loop Trail: When it comes to hiking trails in the Big South Fork, the Grand Gap Loop may be one of the most under-utilized of them all, especially among hiking trails in the Bandy Creek area. It was so under-utilized, in fact, that the National Park Service opened it to bike riders; hikers and mountain-bikers now share the trail. That isn’t a bad thing, as there’s enough trail — at 6.8 miles in total length — to go around. If the length seems daunting, don’t let it dissuade you from trying this trail for the first time. It’s an easy walk, with minimal elevation change. And the views are spectacular. The most notable of the views is without question the Angel Falls Overlook — which doesn’t actually provide a view of Angel Falls (trees along the river’s edge shroud the view), but does provide astounding views up and down the Big South Fork River. There are several other vantage points overlooking the river, but the main attraction of this trail during the fall months is the leisurely stroll through the hardwood forests. The hike begins and ends at an unsigned trailhead at the end of Alfred Smith Road, which is accessed by taking Duncan Hollow Road from the Bandy Creek Campground.

3.) Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole: At just over two miles in length, the trail to Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole and Meeting of the Waters just outside the Victorian village of Rugby is short enough to be hiked on a Sunday afternoon between church services with time to spare. The hike begins and ends at Rugby’s Laurel Dale Cemetery, where many of the town’s historical figures were laid to rest. It descends to the Clear Fork River, strolls by where White Oak Creek empties into the river, and climbs back to the top of the gorge again. Rugby is an enchanted place in the fall, and hikers will want to take a few minutes to stroll through town — perhaps even stopping for lunch at the Harrow Road Cafe. Be sure stop by the town’s visitors center on the way in to pick up a free illustrated trail guide.

4.) Oscar Blevins Farm: If you stand in the middle of Oscar Blevins’ farm north of Bandy Creek, it isn’t hard to imagine how peaceful life must have been here for the Blevins family. And it isn’t hard to see why Oscar Blevins resisted the federal government’s purchase of his farm to form the national park. It’s beautiful any time of the year, but especially during the fall. The hike in and out isn’t bad, either, following Bandy Creek for a while and passing by another old farm that has mostly been reforested by nature and time. The Oscar Blevins Farm Loop Trail is just 3.6 miles, beginning and ending at Bandy Creek Campground just past the NPS visitor center. The elevation change is slight, making this hike an easy one.

5.) Twin Arches Loop: The 6.0-mile Twin Arches Loop is the exception on this list — it isn’t especially easy. It isn’t especially difficult, either; it’s only rated as moderate, with 550 feet in elevation change. The most difficult part is the gradual climb back to the top of the gorge, and it’s well worth the effort to see the Twin Arches when the fall foliage is at its peak, along with the other sights that wait to be photographed along the trail. Beyond the Twin Arches, the trail drops into the gorge, visiting the Charit Creek Hostel before eventually climbing to the top of the gorge again. Charit Creek is itself a spectacular sight in the fall, with the cliffs standing sentry over the valley as the autumn colors and brilliant blue skies provide a picturesque backdrop. Hikers can purchase snacks at Charit Creek, or even reserve lunch or supper in advance. The hike begins and ends at the Twin Arches Trailhead off Divide Road.

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Big South Fork Airpark Gives Back to the Local Community

October 10th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-12-45-24-pmSince Big South Fork Airpark‘s creation in 2007, we have made it a pirority to invest our time and resources into the local community. We do not just work here, but live here as well. Big South Fork Aipark has partnered with the state governor to increase the quality of life for our community, encourage recreation, stimulate tourism and retirement industries, which have all been deemed critical to the local community. We have had the pleasure to host events, volunteer and support some of the leading organizations in Scott Country, including but not limited to the Boys and Girls Club, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) and the grant to preserve the historic O and W Bridge.

If you are interested in volunteering or getting more information please contact us.

Why Did We Pick East Tennessee?

September 23rd, 2016

 

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-Most retiree friendly state – based on affordability, quality of life and climate. (bankrate.com)

-State with the 2nd lowest cost of living (Council for Community and Economic Research)

-Third best state for overall taxation (CNNMoney Bankrate)

-No earned state income tax in Tennessee

-No personal property tax on airplanes in Scott County Tennessee

-Tennessee is the #1 State to Retire according to topretirements.com and finance.yahoo.com: “Not only does it have a Florida-like climate, but Tennessee also boasts the second lowest cost of living in the country. Combined with a low tax burden and great access to medical care, Tennessee is ideal for retirees living on fixed incomes”

Get in the Halloween Spirit with the Zombie Train

September 23rd, 2016

October 22, 2016

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-3-02-11-pmCome out with the family for an evening aboard the Zombie Train, 1 1/2 hour night-time family friendly excursion. Be part of the event by dressing in your best zombie attire. This is a fun family event for all ages…. Departs at 7:00 pm. Ticket Fares: Adults/Seniors – $20.50 & Children (3-12) – $10.50.

Learn More

Thanks for Coming to the Big South Fork Airshow and Party!

September 21st, 2016

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Had a blast at Wings Over Big South Fork, as always we were impressed with all the performances and proud to be a part of the event ! Thank you to everyone that came out for the event and our party!

 

State Giving Back to the O & W Bridge

August 30th, 2016
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This morning State Senator Ken Yager and State Representative Kelly Keisling were on hand at the airpark to present the Scott County Chamber a check for $48,707.00 to improve the historic O&W bridge in the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area.
Thanks to all who attended!