Location: Hidden Lake Campground & Resort – Cherokee National Forest near Tellico Plains, TN
Cost: Members, $125; non-members $150
Join Great Old Broads for Wilderness and our partners, the Tennessee Wilderness Coalition, for this exciting event in the heart of the southern Appalachian mountain range in east Tennessee. This area is one of the world’s most biologically diverse with rich forest ecosystems supporting more than 20,000 species of plants and animals. Its clear-running streams support some of the region’s last, best strongholds of native brook trout, and its footpaths, including the Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail, make it a hiker’s paradise. We’ll base our long weekend at the Hidden Lake Campground and Resort from which we’ll foray each day to explore some of the six beautiful and wild areas of the Cherokee National Forest proposed for wilderness designation by the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 which was introduced in early June by Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Tennessee Republicans. The bill creates one new Wilderness Area, the 9,038-acre Upper Bald River tract in Monroe County, which is dominated by hardwood forests and would protect an intact watershed teeming with wildlife. The bill also includes additions to five existing and popular Wilderness Areas:
- Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock Wilderness (1,836 acres, Monroe County) – Just south of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park across the Little Tennessee River Gorge, this expansion protects a vital wildlife corridor along with hiking and equestrian trails.
- Big Frog Wilderness (348 acres, Polk County) – This addition will become part of the largest wilderness area managed by the U.S. Forest Service in the East.
- Little Frog Wilderness (966 acres, Polk County) – Located north of the Ocoee Gorge in southeast Tennessee, this wilderness expansion protects the corridor for the Benton MacKaye Trail – a 300-mile trail crossing through Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.
- Big Laurel Branch Wilderness (4,446 acres, Carter and Johnson counties) – Near Elizabethton, this wilderness expansion permanently protects nearly 5 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
- Sampson Mountain Wilderness (2,922 acres, Washington and Unicoi counties) – The Tennessee-North Carolina border area plays a vital role in protecting drinking water and is a great area for fly fishing and rafting.
For a closer look at the area, go to Graham Averill’s article that ran in the Blue Ridge Magazine in June. Delicious breakfasts and dinners each day catered by local businesses are included, leaving us more time for hiking, socializing and our speakers and programs. Over the weekend, we’ll hear the latest on the wilderness legislation/campaign from Jeff Hunter, Tennessee Field Organizer for the Southern Appalachian Forest Council. Hidden Lake Campground and Resort is near Tellico Plains, TN. The nearest airport is Mc Ghee Tyson Airport, outside of Knoxville, TN. We will try to arrange carpools mid-day Sept 30 and Oct 4 for those flying in for this event.
To get to Hidden Lake Campground & Resort From Tellico Plains: Take Hwy 68 to 165E, 1 mile Turn Left on Country Road 360, 4.4 miles Turn left on Belltown Rd, go 5 miles Hidden Lake on Left Look for our sign From Madisonville: Take 411 to Ball Play Rd Drive, 9.8 miles Turn right onto Belltown Rd, drive 1/2 mile Hidden Lake on Right Come experience the beauty of the southern hardwood forests and mountains as the fall colors peak.
Teepees are available for an additional $30 per person for the weekend and require sharing with up to 4 other people per teepee. Cabins (2 double bunk beds) are and additional $65 per person for the weekend if shared between 2 people and $30 per person extra for the weekend if shared between 4 people.
When registering, please include any extra fees for cabins/teepees and indicate if you have bunkmates planned or if you are open to sharing with others.