Savage Gulf park ranger honored by Tennessee association

photo Park Ranger George Shinn, center, Sally Hubbard, left, and Mary Priestley, look over "Hike 'Em All at South Cumberland," a new guide to trails in the park.

George Shinn, now the only ranger covering the 15,590-acre Savage Gulf State Natural Area, has been named park ranger of the year by the Tennessee Park Rangers Association.

Shinn, a South Cumberland State Park ranger for 13 years, is stationed at Savage Gulf, which is in Grundy and Sequatchie counties and is one of 10 parks that make up South Cumberland.

"Ranger George Shinn works in a very large and complex park," park manager John Christof said in a news release. "Many park managers in the Tennessee State Park system are responsible for parks much smaller than the area of the one he is assigned to and have more help."

Shinn could not be reached Friday for comment.

In 2012, Savage Gulf hosted a marathon and Shinn helped plan the route, mark the trails, promote the race, collect donations and organize volunteers, according to the release. He also ran in the race as the sweeper.

After the race, rangers realized that an elderly woman was lost, and by the time Shinn found her and brought her safely out of the woods he had worked a 20-hour day.

However, typical of Shinn's behavior, "I never heard any complaints," his fellow ranger Bill Knapp said. "He supports his co-workers however he can. He is there to bring up morale or to lend a helping hand."

Shinn also has the reputation of a storyteller, and he often can be found dressed as Davy Crockett and carrying a long gun.

He is involved in fighting the hemlock wooly adelgid pest in the South Cumberland and last year managed the crews that treated the hemlocks in Savage Gulf.

"We are happy that [Shinn] has been recognized by his peers for the good work he does at Savage Gulf," Christof said.

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