Finding treasures in our own backyards

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Fall is the perfect time to explore the many treasures in the uppermost area of Eva where adventurers will find Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park (NBFSP). Whatever interests one may have, they only have as far as NBFSP for their adventure to begin.

The park contains 20 miles of hiking trails, three campgrounds, with another primitive campground in the works, seven cabins, backcountry shelters, the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center and Museum, waterfront views, fishing, boating, historical lessons everywhere one turns and even kayak rentals.

Park Manager J. C. Johnsonious and the staff of NBFSP fills the calendar full of activities for young and old so that all months offer something for everyone, October through December is no exception.

In October, the Pilot Knob 10K Race will be October 20. Then on October 21, wind down with a relaxing kayak float to the north end of the park to enjoy the fall colors and changing of the leaves. This is a great time of year to float as waterfowl starts migrating into the area and also eagles start making their way in also. There is a cost associated with the kayak float. Folks can make reservations online and remember space is limited. Organizers recommend dressing for paddling and bring a drink.

On October 24, folks can meet at the ball field to go on a one-mile hike along Pafford Wilson trail. Hikers will loop back to the ball field where there will be s’mores over a bonfire. Johnsonious said, “We will focus on animals of the night during the hike that we see and hear. Wear sturdy shoes as this hike does involve going up and down a few hills. We recommend bringing water, bugspray, and a headlamp/flashlight. The s’mores will be provided by the park.”

Then on October 27 there will be one of the most anticipated events, the NBFSP Haunted Trail. Folks meet at the shelter just inside the park and take a hay ride to the family-friendly haunted trail.

November will bring historical events when on November 2 and 3, the park will host Civil War Days in conjunction with Johnsonville State Park. Guided hikes will conclude with the annual Day After Thanksgiving ranger-led hike on November 23. Also on November 23 will be the delightful Lighting of the Knob. This holiday event focuses on Christmas décor and runs on both evenings, the 23rd and the 24th.

In addition to calendared activities, Johnsonious was pleased to announce the expansion of primitive camping opportunities in the park. NBFSP has newly acquired property along a creek with historical significance. Belonging to a private citizen prior to the acquisition, Johnsonious showed The Camden Chronicle the area where he hopes large groups can enjoy the peace and serenity of a primitive setting. The park is currently 2,650-acres and the addition of the fourth campground will add even 101 more acres to spread out.

NBFSP began as a local park constructed by the Works Progress Administration, a Depression Era work recovery program. It was designated a state park in 1963 and was named after a Confederate cavalry leader, General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Although a controversial figure, Forrest is remembered by some as a noted military tactician of the Civil War. On November 4, 1864, he attacked and destroyed the Johnsonville Federal supply and munitions depot across the river at the mouth of Trace Creek. His operations were concentrated along the river in the vicinity of the park and the town of Eva.

The park is located on Kentucky Lake where fishing is very prominent. Commercial marinas and public boat docks are located nearby and three boating accesses are available in the park at no cost. Fishermen may catch smallmouth, largemouth and striped bass, sauger, crappie, bream and catfish.

Outdoor enthusiasts to history buffs, there is something for everyone at NBFSP, leaving one to only look in their own backyard for many activities.

For more information on activities aforementioned or the park itself, check out the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park Facebook Page or visit the park at 1825 Pilot Knob Rd. in Eva.

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