Wondering where to go and what to do with the kids on a beautiful day?
Warriors’ Path State Park, located just two miles southeast of Kingsport, provides individuals and families the perfect answer to that question with the Summer in the Park programs held daily from June through mid-August. In addition, the park offers over 950 acres of natural beauty sitting on the Holston River at the Patrick Henry Reservoir.
All of the programs are free and open to the public.
“Our summer activities are different each week, but always include guided nature hikes, wildlife demonstrations, nature games, traditional games, evening campfires talks, creek walks, Junior Ranger programs, and much more,” said park naturalist Marty Silver.
“The summer programs are designed for families to enjoy together. The topics are diverse, but are always based on park natural resources as well as park history. For example, we might take a hike on the Backbone trail, traveling in the footsteps of early settlers down at the mouth of Fall Creek, while searching for signs of recent wildlife travelers. We may enjoy a short walk to look for 'seed travelers' in a park old field habitat, and then have some 'seed races,' to learn about seed dispersal and how new plant life will thrive in the park,” he explained.
Some of the more popular programs from last year were Creek Walks, Night Hikes, Earth Ball Games and Bird Breakfast.
While Warriors’ Path is designed to offer a variety of fun activities, Silver said, “the goals of the summer programs are to share the excitement of nature discovery and to encourage concern for resource protection. We want everyone to have a good time while enjoying first-hand experiences of natural places.”
This summer, there will be two young men - both seniors at ETSU including one in Parks and Recreation and the other in Biological Science - working as seasonal park interpreters.
“They work closely with Marty on resource-based recreational programs,” said Nancy Dorman, manager of program services of Tennessee State Parks. “We ask them to host two volunteer projects during the summer, such as park cleanups or trail maintenance. We encourage them to offer as many of the Junior Ranger programs as the schedule allows. They are expected to conduct campfire programs, creek walks and nature games.”
The interns receive the chance to play a major role in the summer program and, at Warriors' Path, have the chance to work with a great role model for their future endeavors.
“I’m not sure you could find a state park staff person with more enthusiasm, passion and love for the parks than Marty Silver. He is a role model for so many of us and it is easy to see why he has been responsible for inspiring generations,” Dorman said.
There are also additional activities in the park to take advantage of during the summer. Just a few to mention include the rental paddleboats or canoes, a large swimming pool, campsites and picnic shelters. There is also a beautiful 18-hole golf course through part of the property. Tennis, basketball and disc golf are available on-site and free of charge. In addition, there are 12 miles of hiking trails and 8.5 miles of scenic biking available. A popular feature for children is the Boundless Playground with its Braille trail, wheelchair access and tree house.
Regardless of your interests, there is something for everyone this summer at Warriors’ Path State Park. Open year-round, the park’s hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For more information about the Summer in the Park programs, which begin in June, contact Marty Silver at Marty.Silver@tn.gov or call 423-239-6786. For general information about the park, call the main office at 423-239-8531 or visit www.tn.gov/environment/parks/WarriorsPath.