By Corrina Sisk-Casson
A mill road Cherokee Indians took through the Sequatchie Valley on the Trail of Tears still exists today and now is open to the public.
The road was documented a few years ago, but a pine beetle infestation killed hundreds of trees and it was closed by the Sequatchie Valley Historical Association for safety reasons, siad the group's Carson Camp. Volunteers recently cleared the mile-long path of about 500 dead trees, and now the trail is open to the public, he said.
Camp said the road is certified by the National Park Service as part of the Trail of Tears.
A journal by the Rev. Daniel S. Butrick covering the period from May 1838 to April 1839 documents the journey that included the mill road that Cherokees took from the Chattanooga area to Oklahoma, he said.
It tells the story of how 1,029 people in 60 wagons traveled rough terrain and the obstacles they encountered.
"Supposedly, this is the only daily journal" of the Trail of Tears, said Camp.