Dark sky event this Saturday at Big South Fork – Join Us!

June 21st, 2017

Take a look at the Big Sky at Big South Fork on Saturday.

In support of the “GO BIG 2017” Challenge, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is presenting a dark sky program, featuring the Paul Lewis, director of the University of Tennessee’s Space Science Outreach.

Lewis and amateur astronomy enthusiasts from around East Tennessee will be at Big South Fork to find and describe the stellar objects in the nighttime sky. Telescopes will be set up for observations.

The event begins at 9:30 p.m. at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center parking area.

The program is kid friendly and Junior Ranger Night Explorer packets will be available.

All ranger-led campfire programs are free of charge. Big South Fork personnel advise those participating to wear weather-appropriate clothing. Participants might also want to bring a blanket or chair for comfortable seating.

In the event of inclement weather, the solar viewing program will be postponed and an alternative dark skies program will be presented in the Interpretation and Education Building next to the Bandy Creek Visitor Center. For directions or additional information call 423-286-7275.

The GO BIG 2017 Challenge is a year-long park-wide event designed to motivate visitors to go out and explore their park. Participants earn points by answering questions about the nature and history of the park that will require exploration in search of site-specific information. Some answers may even require a photo to be taken. Points are also given for miles hiked, biked, paddled or equestrian-ridden so participants and earn them any time.

Lewis talks to thousands of school children each year about astronomy and has conducted night sky observations for University of Tennessee astronomy students. He has been involved with teaching about astronomy for nearly 30 years.

He said he first got involved at looking into the night sky when as a child he saw the Russian satellite Sputnik shoot across the sky. The satellite was the first in space.

Encompassing 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, Big South Fork protects the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The river and recreation area gets more than 650,000 visitations a year.

Firemen’s Fourth of July

June 15th, 2017

When: July 3-4, 2016
Where: Courthouse Mall, Huntsville
Time: 11 a.m. EDT

Join the Huntsville Fire Department’s firefighters and friends as they host one of the largest Independence Day festivals in the region. Held each July 4 on the Courthouse Mall in Huntsville, the event is a long-standing tradition and attracts more than 10,000 for the annual fireworks spectacular at sundown on Independence Day.

The event begins with food, crafts and entertainment, featuring local musicians, on July 3 and continues on July 4. Independence Day begins with a Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast and continues with the annual 4th of July Parade through the streets of Huntsville at 11 a.m. Kids games and carnival rides fill the afternoon, leading up to the 10 p.m. fireworks display.

Homesite & T-Hangar Package – $189K

June 11th, 2017

Celebrate the beginning of summer with a limited lot & hangar deal.  All “T” hangars are 41.5′ wide, 36′ long and 12′ high with overhead bi-fold doors and direct access to the runway. There are a limited quantity of hangars  available for this promotion. Offer expires August 1, 2017.

Learn more and reserve your package today.

Early summer hikes in the Big South Fork

June 11th, 2017

ONEIDA, Tenn. — Truthfully, there is no bad time to hike the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. With hundreds of miles of footpaths spread throughout 125,000 acres of wilderness, the BSF is truly a park for all seasons.

But hiking this section of the northern Cumberland Plateau is near its best during the early weeks of summer, when the rhododendron and mountain laurel that are so prolific throughout the region are in full bloom.

With that in mind, here are five hikes that you won’t want to miss during the months of May and June:

1.) Burnt Mill Loop
Distance: 4.5 miles. Difficulty: Moderate. Accessible via: Burnt Mill Bridge Trailhead.

The Clear Fork River is one of two major tributaries that join to form the Big South Fork River, which lends its namesake to the national park. With headwaters near Allardt, Tenn., the Clear Fork River more closely resembles the river it will eventually empty into than does its counterpart, New River, which heads up in the Cumberland Mountains.

Burnt Mill Loop, a 4.5-mile loop trail on the southern end of the Big South Fork NRRA, showcases this stream, which features many of the same terrain features that you’ll find further downstream along the Big South Fork River, although in gentler form.

From the trailhead at Burnt Mill Bridge on Honey Creek Road near Robbins, Tenn., the Burnt Mill Loop follows the stream for much of its length, climbing up and over a ridge to off a bit of variety to the hike. In addition to the river, the trail features a waterfall, wildflowers and bluffs. But what truly sets it apart is the opportunity to take off your shoes and wade into the shallow waters of Clear Fork. Hikers will find ample opportunity to do so on the upstream side of Burnt Mill Bridge, where scenic camping spots can be found along the river bank and the river bottom is made of solid rock.

2.) Leatherwood Loop
Distance: 3.3 miles. Difficulty: Strenuous. Accessible via: East Rim or Leatherwood trailheads.

The 3.3-mile Leatherwood Loop Trail is one of only a few loop trails in the Big South Fork NRRA that is accessible by multiple trailheads. The trail makes up for its short length with a strenuous ascent from the river bottom to the top of the gorge, and features a little bit of everything that makes the Big South Fork region unique, from dense stands of hemlock to waterfalls to panoramic views of the river gorge.

From East Rim Trailhead on East Rim Road, which can be accessed via S.R. 297 near the Big South Fork NRRA headquarters outside Oneida, Tenn., Leatherwood Loop Trail passes through an old farmstead that has been almost completely reclaimed by nature before following the original road that early settlers of the region used. The trail first drops below the bluff line, then winds its way through a hemlock forest along a small stream for a ways as it descends towards the bottom of the gorge.

Ultimately, the trail emerges at the Leatherwood Ford day use area before following the Big South Fork River upstream, merging with the John Muir Trail for a short distance. One of the highlights along the trip is Echo Rock, which includes a viewing platform along the river’s edge so that hikers can pause to admire the way the sound of the river’s rushing whitewater is reflected off a gigantic boulder along the edge of the stream.

Once the trail makes its vigorous ascent back to the top of the plateau, a short spur trail leads hikers to a panoramic overlook that offers expansive views of the river gorge, including Leatherwood Ford and Bandy Creek. But what really sets the trail apart is the mountain laurel that grows in abundance along the route. Hikers who are fortunate enough to catch the plant in bloom in May are in for a treat, particularly once the trail has topped the plateau on the south side of the loop, where the laurel seems to close in and form walls of flowers on either side of the footpath.

3.) Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole
Distance: 2.9 miles. Difficulty: Moderate. Accessible via: Laurel Dale Cemetery (Historic Rugby).

The Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole trail at Historic Rugby is another of the Big South Fork NRRA’s trails that showcases the Clear Fork River. Located further upstream than Burnt Mill Loop, the Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole trail is a throwback to the days of English gentry in this historic Victorian village.

Founded by British author and reformer Thomas Hughes (notable for Tom Brown’s School Days) in the 1890s, Rugby was originally intended as an escape for younger sons of English gentry who would not be afforded the same opportunities that were reserved for their families’ eldest sons. The village flourished for a while, but did not out-last the Great Depression that struck America in the 1920s. Today, the village remains largely intact, thanks to the preservation efforts of Historic Rugby, and is an excellent side trip for visitors to the region.

The Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole is exactly what its name implies: a pool of water along the Clear Fork River where the English (and American) gentlemen of Rugby would go to swim and bathe. The swimming hole is a gentle pool of water at the bottom of a whitewater rapid, and is a picturesque spot along the river.

Further down the trail is Meeting of the Waters, where White Oak Creek empties into the river as its largest tributary. This was the ladies’ bathing hole during the early days of settlement. Either swimming hole remains an excellent place for hikers to cool off from the summer heat.

4.) Oscar Blevins Farm Loop
Distance: 3.6 miles. Difficulty: Easy. Accessible via: Bandy Creek Trailhead.

The Oscar Blevins Farm is one of only four farmsteads in the Big South Fork NRRA that remain largely intact, and it is also the most picturesque of the four. Located just north of Bandy Creek Visitor Center, the farm is actually accessible by vehicles, but the loop trail leading to it offers an easy hike that should not be overlooked.

From Bandy Creek Trailhead, just north of the visitor center, the trail winds through what was once fields that have since been reclaimed by nature, and the forest line between the new growth forest and the old growth forest is clearly visible. One side of the loop offers a hike that is largely uneventful, traveling through the hardwood forest, while the other side of the loop offers a trek through stream drainages and follows Bandy Creek for a short distance. One of the highlights of the hike is Muleshoe Shelter, a rock shelter where farmers once shoed their mules.

The Oscar Blevins Farm is the closest thing to a working farm that you’ll find in the Big South Fork these days. The National Park Service keeps horses on the premises, which helps keep the fields open and in their original form. The farmstead is so picturesque that it is often used for family portraits and even the occasional wedding.

5.) Yahoo Falls
Distance: 1.2 miles. Difficulty: Easy. Accessible via: Whitley City, Ky.

Located on the northern edge of the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, near Daniel Boone National Forest, Yahoo Falls stands 113 ft. tall, making it the highest waterfall in all of Kentucky. The waterfall is located near the Big South Fork River, along a small stream that feeds into the river. It has cultural and historic importance, as it was said to be the site of an Indian massacre at the hands of John Sevier’s Indian hunters during the 19th century.

During drier weather, the flow of water over Yahoo Falls becomes little more than a trickle, but the pool of water at the base of the waterfall remains an inviting place for hikers to take off their shoes and step into the cool water to beat the heat of day.

Big South Fork Featured on Airplane Geeks Podcast!

June 11th, 2017

Airplane Geeks has been a premier aviation podcast since 2008 featuring commercial, military, and general aviation guests and conversation. Big South Fork Airpark was luckly enough to be invited to be a guest on last week’s episode. Bill Armstrong sat down with Max Flight from Airplane Geeks to discuss what makes BSFA different and what drives our residents.  Bill was quoted saying, “Residential Airpark living is the pure joy of living with your plane in your backyard.”

Listen to Bill Armstrong’s Segment
Listen to Full Airplane Geek Podcast

Join us for BSFA’s Annual Fourth of July Party

June 11th, 2017

Join us for BSFA’s Annual Fourth of July Party

Sparks will fly on the Fourth of July! Big South Fork Airpark invites you to celebrate at a Independence Day Party on July 4th at 5 p.m.

Gather your friends and family and enjoy old fashion Fourth of July fun!
RSVP to Bill Armstrong

Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend Party!

June 6th, 2017

Memorial Day Atv Adventure was a blast, Thank you to everyone that came! Join our newsletter to hear about upcoming events – www.bsfairpark.com

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Surprise Visit!

June 6th, 2017

BSFA residents Dan & Andi Montgomery’s son Garrett stopped by KSCX for some fuel and a quick visit in his Black Hawk! Garrett and his Army Crew also had time for a home cooked meal at the house with Mom and Dad!

Hiking Challenge Explores BSF

May 1st, 2017

For the second time in three years, an Oneida newspaper is challenging residents and visitors of Big South Fork Country to get out and explore the region’s spectacular places by traveling where their feet will take them.

The Independent Herald‘s Twenty Week Hiking Challenge tackles a new trail each week, totaling nearly 90 miles over a five-month period. Hundreds of participants are taking part in the challenge, which visits such scenic vistas as Northrup Falls at the Colditz Cove State Natural Area and the Twin Arches at the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

Ben Garrett, publisher of the Independent Herald, said the challenge is designed to be beginner-friendly, easing novice hikers into the popular form of recreation.

“Our first hike was to Angel Falls in the Big South Fork, which is two miles in and two miles out along a flat, easy trail,” Garrett said. Some of the other hikes totaled around two miles, round-trip.

“The trails will progress in difficulty as the challenge goes along, and we’ll eventually have hikes that are quite a bit longer,” Garrett added. “By that point, some folks who were beginners when the challenge began will be seasoned hikers, and they’ll be able to tackle longer hikes that they weren’t able to complete earlier in the spring.”

The trade-off for the longer and more difficult hikes, Garrett said, is seeing awe-inspiring scenery that is otherwise inaccessible.

“We have people who have lived in this region all their lives, or who have visited our area all their lives, and they don’t know that some of these places even exist,” he said. “They come back amazed, every single time.”

While most of the hikes are in the Big South Fork NRRA, which features hundreds of miles of hiking trails, the Twenty Week Hiking Challenge also visits Colditz Cove, Pogue Creek State National Area, Pickett State Park, Frozen Head State Park and Daniel Boone National Forest.

Each week, the newspaper profiles the trail of the week on its Outside page, giving participants directions to the trailhead and a thorough description of the trail, including hazards and interesting points along the way. Prizes are awarded weekly. Hikers log their participation by tagging photos on social media with the #20WeekHikingChallenge hashtag.

The challenge began in March, but late-comers can play catchup by finding all the trails listed online.

5 Reasons To Fall In Love With Oneida, TN

May 1st, 2017