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Tennessee State Parks announce Middle Tennessee Events starting August 20th


Even though some schools are back in session – the weekends are still the perfect time to take the kids to a Tennessee State Park in your area, with plenty of outdoor adventures for the whole family! There are some great programs scheduled for the remaining weeks in August, including living history opportunities, a canoe float and music under the stars! 

Finding a state park in your own backyard is easy to do and you don’t have to spend a lot of gas money to get there!

Tennessee State Parks offer a variety of activities and events throughout the summer. From great hikes to a one-of-a-kind butterfly celebration – there’s something designed for the entire family!

Listed below are just a few of these great “One Tank” Trips.

Tennessee State Natural Areas

TDEC’s Resource Management Division will host a Duck River Canoe Float on Saturday, August 28th.  Led by Stewardship Ecologist Forrest Evans, the canoe float will begin at Leftwich Bridge and run to the take-out at Howard Bridge.  This section of river has a gentle current and no rapids.  It will take approximately four hours to float and is an excellent opportunity for beginners to canoe.  Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch, water and a change of clothes.

Participants that bring their own canoes or kayaks will need to provide their own transportation.  Canoes may also be rented for a special trip discount of $12.50 per person or $25.00 per canoe through a local rental company. Reservations are required for the Duck River Canoe Float and may be made by calling Forrest Evans at 615-532-0431 or e-mailing .

A 13-mile section of the Duck River is a state scenic river, and runs through the Duck River Complex State Natural Area.  The Duck River Complex is a 2,135-acre natural area complex in Maury County that consists of six natural areas within the 12,800-acre Yanahli Wildlife Management Area, which is managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.  The Duck River is noted for rich faunal diversity, particularly the several federal endangered mussel species. 

The Duck River Canoe Float is part of a series of monthly, guided trips to Tennessee State Natural Areas offered by the department’s Resource Management Division.  Tennessee has 80 designated natural areas throughout the state, covering approximately 116,000 acres of ecologically significant lands.  More information about Tennessee’s natural areas program, including a complete list of all natural areas and scheduled field trips, can be found at

Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Cedars of Lebanon’s 7th Annual Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday, August 28.  Proceeds from this popular sprint triathlon benefits the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon. Be sure to register early, as the event is limited to 448 racers!  Race distances include a 300-yard swim, 16.5-mile bike ride and a three-mile run. For more information, contact Faye Yates or at 615-415-3520.  Visit for online registration.

Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest are located in the southwestern part of Wilson County within the central basin of Tennessee. Both were established during the 1930s as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program to resettle people and replant the Cedar trees that had been heavily harvested. The area now contains one of the largest juniper forests in the country.  For more information about the park, visit

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Fall Creek Falls State Park’s Summer Concert Series offers live music every weekend through September 5.  Featuring an array of artists, including country, bluegrass and folk, all concerts begin at 7:30pm (CDT) and will run approximately two hours.  Admission is $3.00 and children six and under are admitted free. The roster of upcoming featured artists includes: 

  • Saturday, August 21st:  Lantana Drifters
  • Saturday, August 28th:  Hickory Wind
  • Saturday, September 4th:  Foxfire
  • Sunday, September 5th:  Cumberland

Fall Creek Falls State Park is a 25,500-acre paradise on the western Cumberland Plateau. Located just 40 miles south of Cookeville and 65 miles north of Chattanooga, the park offers incredible scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. Beautiful waterfalls, tremendous canyons and dense forests are protected within the park’s boundaries. Visitors will find a 250-site campground, a hotel and conference center and 30 cabins among the park’s many amenities. For more information about the park, visit

Long Hunter State Park

Long Hunter State Park will hold a number of events and activities in the coming weeks.  For additional information about these opportunities, please call 615-885-2422.

  • Couchville Lake Night Hike: Friday, August 20th, at 7:00pm. – Come along for a relaxing stroll around Couchville Lake with nature’s nightlife in full chorus. We’ll hopefully hear frogs, owls, katydids, whippoorwills and more. Bring a flashlight and perhaps even a camera to capture the beauty of this area at sunset. Participants should meet at the Area 2 parking lot.
  • Bryant Grove Nature Hike: Saturday, August 21st, at 4:00pm. – Now that the Bryant Grove Trail has been cleaned up after the floods, let’s head out for a hike on this beautiful, meandering path. The Bryant Grove Trail winds along the shoreline of Percy Priest Lake and offers scenic lake views, late summer wildflowers and plenty of wildlife. We will be hiking four miles – so bring plenty of water and maybe a snack. Participants will meet at the Bryant Grove Recreation Area parking lot near the swim beach.
  • Moonlight Canoe Floats: Sunday, August 22nd or Monday, August 23rd at 7:30pm. – Learn the dos and don’ts of canoeing, followed by a short trek on Couchville Lake under the glow of a full moon. Equipment will be provided. Reservations began August 15th at the park office. This program is designed for ages six and up!  Participants should meet at the boathouse in Area 2.
  • Sellars Farm Tour – Stories of the Ancient Ones: Friday, August 27th, at 7:00pm. – Take a walk back in time at Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area. Mississippian period Native American culture will be discussed, while visiting this historic site. We’ll also explore scenic Spring Creek while keeping an eye out for wildlife and late summer wildflowers.  Please meet at Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area near Lebanon. Contact the park office for directions at 615-885-2422.
  • Life of the Amazon: Saturday, August 28th, at 1:00pm. – Come learn about life in the Amazon as Long Hunter’s Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Ponda Armstrong shares pictures, artifacts, and stories from her August trip to Peru. Please meet at park office.
  • Under the Microscope: Saturday, August 28th, at 4:00pm. – Have you ever wondered how insects and other small objects look under a microscope? We will be taking a closer look at the life that surrounds us and discovering cool and fun facts about these unique creatures. Please meet at the park office.
  • 7th Annual Lost Loon Triathlon: Sunday, August 29th, at 9:00am. – The Lost Loon Triathlon has become an annual tradition at Long Hunter State Park. The event, which takes place in and around Couchville Lake, features nine miles of biking, two miles of canoeing, and four miles of running/walking. For more info, please visit
  • Dancing in the Park: Sunday, August 29th, at 6:00pm. – Step back in time as you learn about the history of the park and how to swing dance like the stars – or at least how the locals did it in the 20s through 40s.  Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Ponda Armstrong, who just happens to be a great swing dancer, will provide dance instruction!  This program is best for ages 10 and up. Please meet at park office.

Captivating Canoes and Rowdy Raccoons are just a few of the upcoming topics The Nature Circle at Long Hunter State Park will be covering in the coming weeks.  The Nature Circle is an interactive group made up of nature-themed stories, puppets, songs and crafts for ages three to five.  The group meets at the park visitor center every Monday at 10:00am and is co-sponsored by the Friends of Long Hunter State Park. Children are encouraged to bring an item, such as a favorite book, stuffed animal or photograph that relates to each week’s theme. For a complete schedule of events, please visit or call 615-885-2422. The Nature Circle would like to note there will be no meeting on Monday, September 6th, for Labor Day. 

Long Hunter State Park is situated along the shore of J. Percy Priest Lake. It consists of four units: Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellars Farm. Picnicking, swimming, hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, nature photography and wildlife observation are among the activities available to park visitors. Planned activities include interpretive and recreation programs for the general public and environmental education programs for school and other interested groups.  For more information about Long Hunter State Park, please visit or call 615-885-2422.

Tims Ford State Park

Enjoy an evening of bluegrass, country and gospel music at Tims Ford State Park’s Saturday Night Pickin’s party on Saturday, August 28th, from 5:30pm to 9:00pm.  The event will be held at the park’s recreation building and musicians are encouraged to bring their own instruments to join in the music making!  For more information about this event, please call 931-962-1183. 

Tims Ford State Park, located on the Tims Ford Reservoir in the rolling hills of southern Middle Tennessee, is an outstanding recreational area and fishing paradise. Long before the construction of Tims Ford Dam on the headwaters of the Elk River, the area was used extensively by American Indians as a hunting and fishing territory. Archaeological excavations uncovered numerous artifacts and occupational sites, indicating that man had occupied the area as much as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.  For more information about the park, please visit

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Join the Friends of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on Saturday, August 21st, for a Park Clean-Up effort – helping improve the park for all to enjoy! Cleanup will last approximately three hours.  Participants are encouraged to wear their “volunteer” shirts.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located at the foot of the State Capitol. The park is bordered by James Robertson Parkway, Jefferson Street and Sixth and Seventh Avenues. For more information about the park, please visit or call the park office at 615-741-5280.

Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 80 natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups.  State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses.  For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at




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