The Independent Herald (Oneida) newspaper takes a look at Scott County’s tourism industry this week:
“Good things are happening in Scott County,” Kidd says. “And I truly feel that we’re just getting started.”
It is in this conference space on the second floor of the visitors center where behind-the-scenes work takes place to plan and promote tourism opportunities in Scott County. After the committee members have gone home, Kidd will continue that behind-the-scenes work — there are phone calls to be made, packets to mail out, vendor commitments to firm up . . .
As for those “good things” Kidd speaks of, it’s hard to ignore the way an increasing number of people are realizing this northern Cumberland Plateau region — and Scott County — exists. It has been said that a record number of tourists will visit Scott County this year, to hike and bike the Big South Fork on one end of Scott County, to four-wheel the Cumberland Mountains on the other end, and to attend a variety of events in between.
Continue reading . . .
In an effort to propose adventure tourism districts within Scott County to the State of Tennessee, the county has formed an adventure tourism committee to explore which areas of the county to designate as adventure tourism zones. From ScottCounty.com:
The newly-appointed Scott County Adventure Tourism Committee held its first meeting Monday afternoon at the Scott County Mayor’s Office to begin preliminary steps towards proposing an adventure tourism district or districts within Scott County.
Under the Adventure Tourism & Rural Development Act of 2011, adventure tourism zones can be established to give municipal and/or county governments more control over state regulations and to encourage new tourism-related businesses and job growth through tax incentives, while also taking advantage of the Tennessee Department of Tourism’s networking and promotion arm to help promote tourism opportunities locally.
Authored by state Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, the Adventure Tourism Act was written partially with Scott County in mind. With the 125,000-acre Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area and the 145,000-acre North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area falling partially into Scott County, along with privately-owned recreation areas, Scott County is becoming a mecca for many types of adventure-based tourism, including ATV riding, mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater paddling and more.
A big thank you to Southern Living magazine for featuring the Big South Fork region and a few of our valued businesses in this month’s edition:
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area lies more than off the beaten path. It’s off the radar of most Tennesseans―and certainly most Southerners. Yet it’s one of the prettiest places in the state. Rangers from the Smokies vacation here. Straddling the Kentucky state line, about three hours from Nashville, it’s not as remote as it seems.
Ben Garrett submits this photo of the John Litton Farm in Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area as the sun sinks in the late afternoon sky.
The Litton Farm, accessible via the John Litton Loop Trail from Bandy Creek Campground, is one of only two remotely-located homesteads within the 125,000-acre national park that have been preserved. The other is the Jonathan Blevins Farm on the banks of Charit Creek, which is currently operated as Charit Creek Hostel. (Two other preserved farms, the Oscar Blevins Farm and the Lorna Blevins Farm, are accessible via vehicle near Bandy Creek Visitors Center & Campground.)
This photo, taken by Ben Garrett, shows a bird’s-eye view of the O&W corridor through the Big South Fork “canyon” just above the O&W Bridge. The O&W — Oneida & Western — was a rail line connecting the small towns of Oneida and Jamestown on either side of the river gorge during the early 20th Century. It was built for easier access to the rich coal and timber reserves within what is now Big South Fork Country, and carried supplies and workers to the lumber camps and coal camps in the rugged wilderness while carrying coal and timber out. Today, the O&W is a multipurpose road to the bridge across the Big South Fork River.
During the summer, Jake’s Hole — the wide spot in the river to the right — is a popular swimming hole. But late-winter thunderstorms left the river churning and muddy on this day.
The National Park Service said Friday that the Bandy Creek Campground in the Big South Fork NRRA will open for the 2014 season on Tuesday, April 1. Campsites can be reserved online at www.recreation.gov or by phone at 877-444-6777.
More . . .
The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area announced Thursday that the swimming pool at Bandy Creek will be open on a limited basis this summer! The pool was closed in 2013 due to budget cuts.
The pool will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and will also be available for after-hours rentals.
The daily use fee is $3 for ages 13 and older, and $2 for ages 12 and under (under 5 are free).
The complete story . . .
Have you heard the news? Trails End Campground is bringing Craig Morgan to Scott County in concert to kick off summer. We can’t wait! The “International Harvester,” “What I Love About Sundays” and “Little Bit of Life” star will be at Trails End Campground on Friday, May 23, as part of the campground’s Full Throttle Event and a jam-packed Memorial Day weekend in Scott County. See more . . .
A panoramic shot from Angel Falls Overlook, located on the Grand Gap Loop Trail in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Grand Gap is a 6.8-mile loop trail most commonly accessed via the John Muir Trail from Leatherwood Ford (2.8 miles, one way). By vehicle, the loop trail can be accessed by Duncan Hollow Road behind the Bandy Creek Campground.
In case you haven’t heard, a steam excursion train is returning to Oneida, Tenn., on March 30! The sold-out train rolled the Norfolk-Southern main line from Chattanooga to Oneida in November and is headed back for a spring visit.
At Oneida City Park, the Town of Oneida’s regionally-recognized rail-side park, the Scott County Chamber of Commerce will host the BSF Vintage Train Fest to greet riders. The festival will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The train is scheduled to arrive at around 12:30 p.m.
Today, the Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Committee announced that Great Day In The Morning, a local bluegrass band, and the Highlander String Band, a bluegrass band made up of talented Scott High School students, will provide live entertainment for the event. The festival will also include a vintage car cruise-in, lots of food and arts and crafts vendors.
More information about the festival and information for vendors is available here.
The BSF Vintage Train Fest will be back May 31-June 1 as the excursion train rolls from Lexington, Ky., to Oneida! Details of that event are still being finalized.