Fiery Gizzard reroute continues
On February 6, the Friends of South Cumberland (FSC) announced the receipt of a $2,000 grant from the Tennessee Trails Association (TTA) for equipment to help with the ongoing work of rerouting the popular Fiery Gizzard Trail. The grant will allow the rangers to purchase a lifting system to move large rocks, bridge lumber, and other trail-building materials. “TTA generously agreed to fund the kit and all the cables, trolleys, pulleys, and accessories that would allow the hoist to be used to its full potential across much greater distances,” observes FSC Vice-President Naullain Kendrick. “This gear will have multiple uses, even after the trail reroute is complete, including rescue potential. It’s a key piece of equipment that will benefit the park for years to come, and we thank TTA for its generosity.”
Volunteers are needed to help with the effort, which will result in moving a key section of the trail onto park property and off of private land atop the Cumberland Plateau. “So far, the trail work has had awesome support,” said Ranger Park Greer. “How quickly we complete the work depends entirely on how many volunteers we get.” Volunteer work parties take place every Saturday. Workers should meet at 9 a.m., at the Grundy Forest parking area in Tracy City. Rangers will transport volunteers to the trail reroute site. The groups usually work until 2 p.m.
“We have jobs for all ages and skill levels,” Greer explained. “It’s not just moving boulders — we need people to rake leaves, level the soil, trim branches, and deliver tools.” Scout troops, church groups and community service organizations are encouraged to bring members. For information, contact Jason Reynolds, the ranger in charge of the reroute: Jason.Reynolds@tn.gov or go to the FSC MeetUp page online at Meetup.com/Friends- of-South-Cumberland-State-Park.
The effort received an earlier financial boost from the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga, which provided a $25,000 grant to build a massive bridge across McAlloyd Creek and two staircases. Materials for these structures were air-dropped into the gorge with help from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which provided one of its helicopters to make the unusual delivery.
The new route presents hikers with heretofore unseen and spectacular views of cascades and smaller falls in the creek. Greer noted, “While the reroute adds some difficulty to the trail, the new views along the way make it totally worth it! It’s your state park, it’s your trail. Please come out and help us!”