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863 National Public
Lands Day
Cummins Falls
State Park

Saturday, was National Public Lands Day. The event was designed to draw attention to the importance of Public Lands across the nation. In Tennessee it was easy to find a place to participate as all 54 of the Tennessee State Parks hosted a Public Lands Day program. The National Forests, National Parks, and even some local parks also hosted some form of events. Scheduled activities varied from work days to nature walks.

To show our support for the Public Lands we visited Cummins Falls State Park (near Cookeville, TN) for a Park work day. Our good friend, Ray, works at Cummins Falls. He told me the particulars of the event and I promised that Amy and I would attend.

We were a little late getting to the Park and Ray was not to be seen, but it was easy to hear where we belonged. The buzz of a chainsaw filled the air. The volunteers were already hard at work clearing an invasive species tree, the alianthus (tree of heaven). We brought our own chainsaw so that we could play, too. There was plenty to do. The trees were widespread in the park. In the small area where we were working, there were around twenty of the invasive trees.

Ray sawing a tree

Ray sawed the standing trees and I pushed, as we directed them to the ground. Some trees even fell where we wanted them to! I did let out a hardy "timber" as the bigger trees fell. As soon as the trees hit the ground, a crew of volunteers trimmed the limbs and sawed the trunks into manageable sections and then picked up the cuts and carried them to the refuse piles. It was good fast work.

The Cummins Falls information on the Public Lands Day event gave a schedule of working from 0900 to 1200 and then going on an afternoon hike and swim. I don't think anyone from the group of volunteers went swimming, other than Jake, our big dog. There were however, 10 volunteers and 2 rangers (Ray and Jeremy) who participated. The group painted kiosks and removed invasive trees. Even though no one went swimming, it still was a fun day of work.

Heidi clearing cuts

If you did not participate this year in National Public Lands Day, then mark it on your calendar and get ready for next year! If you really think you missed out on all of the fun and just can't wait 'til next year to volunteer... then contact the Cummins Falls State Park and I am sure they will find something for you to do.

Happy Tennessee Volunteer trails


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