Family fun and summer activities abound at Panther Creek State Park.
Every weekend this summer you can find Seasonal Ranger Cade Norris teaching people about nature and outdoor activities.
“My favorite thing about being in the park is just being able to be outdoors,” he said. “It’s a great to be out in nature and see the beauty locally here. I’m super thankful we have this type of resource.”
Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays in the summer you can find Norris teaching various classes, leading hikes and getting folks out in watercraft.
Visitors to the park can learn about birds of prey with Oliver the Barred Owl or reptiles with Wilbur the Corn Snake.
Ranger Cade leads hikes to learn about geological features or bushcraft skills like orienteering and knot tying.
Roughly once a weekend, Norris takes visitors on “canoe floats” where they can learn about water safety, paddling or just enjoy a sunset from a different perspective.
All of the activities can be found of the “Upcoming Events” section of the Panther Creek website.
This Saturday the activities will be Knot Tying at 2 p.m., Birds of Prey at 3:30 p.m. and a Canoe Float at 5 p.m.
The canoe float has a limit of 12 people, costs $10, and participants must pre-register at tnstateparks.com/parks/events/panther-creek to insure a spot.
All of these activities are called “interpretive programming.”
“It (interpretive programming) tries to better interpret the resources we have in natural, cultural and scenic contexts,” Norris said. “It can help you see something deeper in the environments and resources we have available to us.”
Don Lovelace, president of Friends of Panther Creek State Park, said everyone should go out and enjoy Hamblen County’s state park.
“It’s a beautiful park,” he said. “My favorite thing is the overlook. We just had my grandson’s first birthday party there and it’s just beautiful.”