Savage Gulf Hike Slated For April 27
EVENT PLANNED AS CELEBRATION OF EARTH DAY
Nashville, Tenn. – The Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Natural Areas will host a guided hike at Savage Gulf State Natural Area in Grundy and Sequatchie counties near Monteagle on April 27 in celebration of Earth Day. Participants should meet at 10 a.m. at the natural area’s Gulf Entrance parking lot.
Natural Areas Science Manager Kevin Fitch and Arnold Air Force Base Environmentalist Mike Frederick will take hikers on a five-mile journey along Collins Gulf trail to Horsepound Falls and back. This section of the Savage Gulf State Natural Area is noted for its spectacular display of spring wildflowers and its beautiful waterfalls – particularly Sutter Falls. The descent to the falls, and indeed much of the trail, is rocky, steep and difficult to negotiate.
“In the uplands, visitors can see an old-growth, short-leaf pine forest, where red-cockaded woodpeckers once nested,” Fitch said. “Savage Gulf is also on the Registry of National Natural Landmarks. It’s really an incredible site.”
Participants should bring water and snacks, and they should wear appropriate footwear and dress in layers. They also may want to bring walking sticks and rain gear. Reservations are required for the guided hike and can be made by contacting Kevin Fitch by phone at (615) 532-0431 or by e-mail at kevin [dot] fitch [at] state [dot] tn [dot] us by April 24.
Savage Gulf is a 15,590-acre natural area carved like a giant crowfoot into the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau. Its sheer sandstone cliffs and rugged canyons provide extraordinary views. Breathtaking waterfalls form at the heads of many gorges, where streams drop over hard sandstone cap rocks. While much of the area is second-growth forest, Savage Gulf contains one large section of old-growth mixed mesophytic forest.
To reach Savage Gulf from Manchester, take Interstate 24 East to the Pelham/Winchester exit immediately before Monteagle Mountain. Turn left on State Route 50, and drive through Pelham. Cross U.S. Highway 41, and continue up the mountain. Turn right on State Route 108, continuing through Gruetli-Laager. Turn left on 55th Avenue, traveling a few more miles to the Savage Gulf State Natural Area’s Gulf Entrance parking lot.
The hike at Savage Gulf is part of a series of monthly, guided field trips to Tennessee State Natural Areas offered by the department’s Division of Natural Areas. Tennessee has 77 designated State Natural Areas throughout the state, covering approximately 110,000 acres of ecologically significant lands. More information about Tennessee’s natural areas program, including a complete list of all natural areas and scheduled field trips, can be found at http://tn.gov/environment/na/.
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