More than 50 events have been scheduled for the annual celebration of State Natural Areas Week in Tennessee. Though the weeklong observance doesn't officially start until Monday, it gets a jump-start this weekend at five sites, including the Savage Gulf State Natural Area in Grundy and Sequatchie counties. Outings later in the week include wilderness hikes in Cumberland, Rhea and Hamilton counties, as well as other Savage Gulf locations.
The Tennessee Natural Area Preservation Act, passed in 1971, encompasses 82 sites, covering more than 120,000 acres, for the protection of rare, endangered or unique plant and animal species.
For any outing, layered clothing and appropriate footwear are recommended, along with water, snacks and bug repellent. Cameras are welcome.
For more information on these adventures and others across the state, visit www.tn.gov/environment/na/events/seasonal.shtml.
• Sunday: Collins Gulf Wildflower Pilgrimage, 10 a.m. CDT; meet at Collins West Trailhead in Savage Gulf SNA; moderate to strenuous 5-mile round trip. Call 615-418-5787 or email Randy.Hedgepath@tn.gov.
• Monday: Savage Falls Hike, 10 a.m. CDT at South Cumberland State Park; moderate 4-mile hike to see the waterfall; call 931-924-2980.
• Wednesday: Spring Wildflower Walk up Soak Creek in Piney Falls SNA; 9 a.m.; flat but rocky 2-mile walk to see abundant wildflowers; reservations required; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Thursday: Hike to Laurel Falls in Laurel Snow SNA, 10 a.m.; moderate to difficult 5-mile round-trip to see the waterfall and relics from the Dayton Coal and Iron complex; send notice of attendance to email@example.com.
• April 14: Hike to Ozone Falls, 9 a.m. CDT, Cumberland Mountain State Park; send notice of attendance to Monica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
• April 14: Overlook hike, 10 a.m., North Chickamauga Creek Gorge SNA; moderate to difficult 5-mile round-trip; send notice of attendance to email@example.com.
• April 15: Hike to Piney Falls, 9 a.m. CDT, from the parking area for Ozone Falls SNA; send notice of attendance to Monica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
• April 15: Fiery Gizzard trash pickup, noon, meeting at Grundy Forest SNA; follow signs off U.S. 41/56 in Tracy City, Tenn.
• April 15: Buggytop/Lost Cave Hike, 9 a.m. CDT, meet at Carter SNA trailhead at Highway 56, seven miles south of Sewanee, Tenn.; moderate 4.5-mile outing with 640-foot elevation change; email email@example.com.