Archive for January, 2017

Updates To O & W Bridge

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 11.36.33 AMImprovements are coming to the historic O&W Railroad Bridge in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

The Scott County Chamber of Commerce announced in July 2016 that it has received grant funding through a tourism grant to fund a $97,000 project to replace all timbers on the century-old bridge. The grant was facilitated by the Industrial Development Board of Scott County, and supported by the Tourism Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

Work on the bridge was originally expected to begin at the conclusion of the fall tourism season in November. However, an unexpected delay in the release of funding has resulted in the project being delayed.

Stacey Kidd, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that the funds are expected to be released at any time, after which the Scott County Road Department will immediately begin work on the project as weather permits. The O&W Road will be closed for three weeks once construction begins, and the goal is to be finished with the project by the start of the spring tourism season.

No local tax dollars are being spent on the project.

The O&W Bridge was originally constructed in 1917 as part of the Oneida & Western Railroad, which was built from Oneida to reach coal and timber reserves in the modern-day Big South Fork NRRA. Once completed, the railroad linked Oneida and Jamestown. The bridge itself was actually built in the late 1800s. It was disassembled and moved to the Big South Fork River when the O&W Railroad was being built. It is one of the last bridges of its kind remaining in the United States.

At one point in the 1990s, the National Park Service proposed to close the O&W Road at the bridge, using the bridge for foot traffic and equestrian traffic. Scott County ultimately persuaded the NPS to leave the bridge open, and to leave the road open to White Oak Creek approximately two miles beyond the river crossing.

SAVE THE DATE- Big South Fork Oyster Roast and Grill will be March 25th

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

oystersJoin us for fresh oysters, grill items, cool drinks and live music. Hope to see everyone there! Must RSVP to make sure we have enough FRESH Oysters

flown in from South Carolina!


Welcome the Hults to Big South Fork Airpark

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
2016123095100814Congrats to Jon and Kathryn Hults, from Temecula, CA, on their purchase of homesite T-9. Welcome to the Big South Fork Airpark family!


Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-2-30-29-pmFuel up at BSFA on the way to SUN ‘n FUN and


We want everyone to attend SUN ‘n FUN, so we are offering free gas to make it easier! Stop by our booth at Sebring to receive a gas voucher for $1 off every gallon of fuel on the way to SUN ‘n FUN. To redeem voucher simply fill up at KSCX on the way to Lakeland! Must call – (877) BSF-Park or email to schedule fill up.


* Must redeem at KSCX – Expires April 10th, 2017 – One voucher per plane – Must Schedule Fill Up – Must have voucher to redeem fuel – Discount limited to 100 gallons.

Custom Hangar Spotlight – The Dillman’s

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

IMG_5830Across the street from the Dillman’s new vacation home is their 2,500 sq/ft custom hangar with private bathroom located right on the taxiway. This steel construction hangar features Schweiss Bi-Fold Doors operated completely by remote control. Safety first with this luxury custom hangar, with LED lights, an emergency hand crank for the bi-fold doors and automatic blue taxiway lights in the front.

Chris Donald of Carolina Contractors, of Oneida, Tenn, built the home and hangar. The company also has an office in Hilton Head, S.C.

Beautiful Winter Views at Big South Fork

Monday, January 9th, 2017

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-2-05-35-pmStand on the edge of the cliffs that line the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and a few of the small streams flowing into it between Leatherwood Ford and Station Camp, and it isn’t hard to imagine the Cherokee Indians that once inhabited these lands before the white man arrived standing on the rock outcroppings, scouting the river valley below.

When it comes to aerial views (from foot) of the Big South Fork, it’s hard to beat any one of the dozen or so marked overlooks scattered about the rim of the gorge north and south along the river. But if your idea of taking in the scenery and getting away from the day-trippers that head to places like East Rim and Blue Heron, it’s hard to beat a hike along the Grand Gap Loop.

A 6.8-mile loop trail along the west rim of the river gorge, Grand Gap Loop offers views that are simply spectacular — especially during the winter months, when there is no foliage to limit visibility.

Named after Grand Slaven, who lived nearby, Grand Gap was one of the few access points from which residents and other travelers could leave the plateau and reach the Big South Fork River, an elevation change of nearly 500 ft. and often lined by sheer cliff lines.

The hike itself is relatively easy, with no major inclines or rough terrain. Compared to several of the other trails the park offers, it’s a leisurely stroll, though a little difficulty can be added by approaching the loop trail from Leatherwood Ford, and a little length by approaching it from Bandy Creek.

The highlight of the loop trail is Angel Falls Overlook, which offers probably the most spectacular view in all the 115,000-acre park. From the rock outcropping 500 ft. above the Angel Falls river rapid, visibility extends several miles up and down the gorge, offering scenery that is eye-popping in any season. The overlook is just one of a number of spectacular gorge views along the route.

The loop trail is accessible by vehicle along the graveled multiuse road behind Bandy Creek Campground, but there is no marked trailhead. The nearest trailheads are at least three miles away.

Some other considerations: On weekdays, the trail is shared by mountain bikers. For camping hikers, there’s no source for water along the route. And the trail often travels alongside the sheer cliffs, which are unprotected.

The best ways to hike to Grand Gap Loop are from the trailheads at Leatherwood Ford and Bandy Creek. The Leatherwood hike makes it a 12.4-mile trek (2.8 miles each way from Leatherwood Ford to the loop trail at the top of the gorge), while the Bandy Creek hike makes it a 17-mile hike (5.1 miles each way from Bandy Creek to the loop trail).

For even more spectacular views of the river gorge, the John Muir Trail exits Grand Gap Loop and continues along the western rim of the gorge, eventually descending to the river bottom at Laurel Fork Creek near the Station Camp crossing.

The John Muir Trail begins at Burnt Mill Bridge in the southern section of the Big South Fork and traverses much of the park before ending at Pickett State Forest (sans an uncompleted segment between the Honey Creek Loop Trail and O&W Bridge).

Best Places to Experience Winter at Big South Fork Airpark

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

ONEIDA, Tenn. — Winter is upon us in Big South Fork Country. And with it comes cold air.

Let’s face it: hard-core adventure types might love to paddle and hike in colder weather, but for most of us, the warm heater in our vehicle is hard to leave when the temperatures drop into the 30s, the 20s or colder.

So, with that in mind, here are five quick ins-and-outs that will allow you to see the beauty of the Big South Fork region without standing out in the cold — too long.

The observation platform at East Rim Overlook on a snowy winter morning. (Photo: Ben Garrett)

1.) East Rim Overlook: East Rim is more than just one of the best vantage points above the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. It’s also the most easily accessed. Located on East Rim Road just off S.R. 297 along the east entrance to the Big South Fork, the overlook is handicap-accessible, with a paved walking path leading to the wooden viewing platform. It’s less than a five-minute walk to the overlook, meaning you can take time to admire the beauty and wonder of the river gorge and make it back to your car before Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. (Want to make this trip better? See it at sunset!)

The Oscar Blevins Farm is a well-preserved farmstead in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. (Photo: Ben Garrett)
The Oscar Blevins Farm is a well-preserved farmstead in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. (Photo: Ben Garrett)

2.) Oscar Blevins Farm: The best way to get to Oscar Blevins’ farm in the Big South Fork is to walk in. The Oscar Blevins Farm Loop is an easy, 5.1-mile hiking trail that begins and ends at the Bandy Creek Trailhead near the park’s visitor center. But here’s a secret: you can drive right to it! From Bandy Creek Visitor Center, continue north on Bandy Creek Road. After the pavement gives way to gravel, the farm is located down the first road on the left. You can park your vehicle near the modern farm house and stroll down the drive that bisects the farm. It’s a beautiful place, any time of the year.

A huge mound of ice towers above two girls at the base of Yahoo Falls. (Photo: Steven Seven)
A huge mound of ice towers above two girls at the base of Yahoo Falls. (Photo: Steven Seven)

3.) Yahoo Falls: This one requires a bit more of a hike, but it isn’t so far that you’ll catch frostbite! At 113 ft. tall, Yahoo Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Actually, it’s the largest waterfall in all of Kentucky. And it drops in front of one of the largest rock shelters in the BSF, making this a two-for-the-price-of-one feature. The entire walk, to and from your vehicle, is one mile. And it’s an easy hike, with the exception of steep metal steps (be careful in subfreezing temperatures!) As an added treat, when temperatures in our region drop below freezing and stay there for several days, a huge mound of ice develops at the base of the waterfall. Get there by taking Ky. Hwy. 700 off U.S. Hwy. 27 just north of Whitley City, Ky., and then follow the signs.

The O&W Road on a snowy afternoon. (Photo: Ben Garrett)

4.) The O&W: The drive down the historic Oneida & Western Railroad rail bed is spectacular at any time of the year. And if snow has just fallen, it’s even better (although you might want a 4×4 in snowy weather!). From S.R. 297 in West Oneida, take Toomey Road from the top of the plateau into the Pine Creek gorge, where it will meet with the O&W near the site of the historic Welsh colony of Brynyffynon (not marked). The O&W Railroad provided rail service into this rugged terrain during the early days of the 20th century, when coal and lumber were king. These days, the first several miles of the old rail bed are open to motorized vehicles, all the way to the historic O&W Bridge across the Big South Fork River. (You’ll want to park and stretch your legs at the bridge, venturing out onto it to view the rushing waters below and the magnificent cliff wall that towers over it.)

The Christ Church Episcopal in Rugby, Tenn. (Photo: Wikipedia)
The Christ Church Episcopal in Rugby, Tenn. (Photo: Wikipedia)

5.) Rugby: You haven’t been to Rugby? Then you haven’t seen where the class of English gentry meets the heart of Appalachian spirit. This 19th century English colony just outside the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is carefully preserved as a living, working community. Once intended for English gentry, the area is home to an eclectic population these days, and many of the original structures still stand. You’ll want to take a sight-seeing trip around town, and you’ll definitely want to stop for lunch at the Harrow Road Cafe (open Thursday-Sunday).