Monday, December 16, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam and other dignitaries dedicate Virgin Falls.

To get an idea of the size of this natural wonder, look in the upper left corner of
this picture. There is a person standing there.

I hate I missed it, but last Wednesday Governor Bill Haslam and other dignitaries gathered and endured chilly temperatures to dedicate Virgin Falls.

I have hiked a lot of beautiful places in Tennessee but have never hiked to Virgin Falls.  My sister is planning to lead a hike to Virgin Falls and some other nearby sites some warm day in January. I look forward to the hike. My sister, Kathleen Williams, is Executive Director of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and her organization was instrumental in saving this site.

My family has  a deep connection to this area. Both sets of  grandparents on my mothers side, the Carters and the Welches, have ties to this part of the country. The nearby area called "Big Bottom" was once farmed by an ancestor of mine and I have a relative who is buried in a cemetery in the area.

The stream that makes Virgin Falls, runs out of cave then falls 110 feet into the mouth of another cave. The area is also home to several endangered and rare plant species.

Below is a link to news coverage of the Dedication.
Geologic wonder dedicated as Virgin Falls State Natural 
Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau, Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Conservation Brock Hill and representatives from the community endured chilly temperatures Wednesday to celebrate the protection of 1,157 acres through the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, which is adjacent to the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness.
Community celebrates preservation of Virgin Falls  
SPARTA — Bundled up nature-lovers gathered at Welch’s Point in Sparta yesterday morning to celebrate the formal dedication of the Virgin Falls State Natural Area.
“We are celebrating getting Virgin Falls into public land, which many of us thought it was already,” said Mary Lynn Dobson, vice president of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.

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