Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Roaming the Properties with the Neighbor

Don owns the land next to ours. It is a beautiful and important tract in the scheme of things. He wants it protected from the march of development and has been a good ally in protecting the Whites Creek watershed. We rode up one of the old roads to look for one of Don's corner markers. He thought it was a concrete marker. We bushwhacked around for a half hour and were about to give up. I decided to try one more area and there it was. It wasn;t concrete. It is a cut stone marker with the initials C S carved in it. That stands for Cincinnati Southern Railway. In order to entice railroads into Tennessee they were awarded large land grants and this is one of them. Don's father got the land in about 1945 and Don bought it from his father 30 or so years later. Don is an energetic fellow and gives me hope. He turned 88 this week.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

View From Jump Rock

So I dragged Skip on a little hike to Jump Rock on Piney Creek. He's about 35 feet above the water so forgive him for not standing right on the edge of the rock. This is about 1/2 mile above the confluence with Whites Creek.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Hugging Tree at Whites Creek

We have done a rough survey of this Hemlock beauty that has it at just under 100 feet tall with a 54 foot crown width. It is just the right width and at just the right angle to feel really good on your back when you hug it. So if someone ever calls you a "tree hugger"...ask then if they've ever really hugged a tree?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Whites Creek Palooza Info (Tickets Still Available)

Whites Creek Palooza!  Sat July 11   2 ish til after 8 or something

Yes, there are tickets left. Pay at   or email for reservations.

Yes, we will be able to take your card at the door. Cash is also lovely.

Yes, you may donate to the beer fund.

Yes, there will be a live auction for a lot of cool stuff.

Yes, you will need the usual outdoors stuff, water shoes, insect repellent, sunscreen (yay!), camp chair, water clothes, dry clothes. You will be in the Whites Creek Conservation Easement held by Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. There will be walking involved but we have transport for those who need it.

GPS address: 680 Black Creek Rd  Rockwood, TN 37854...

Black Creek Rd is off Hwy 27. It's 3 miles south of Rockwood's big junkyard landmark (also the hwy 70 junction). The railroad crossing arms are a certainty that you are at Black Creek rd. Drive is 1.8 miles, right on gravel drive immediately past the big copper mailbox. We'll have signs if all goes according to plan.

Your cell will NOT work as you get close so call before you get too far on Black Creek Rd if you need us to talk you in:   865-354-4363 

Parking is always tight. You can park on the paved road and walk, or you can drive up the gravel drive to the house, unload, and then park. We'll have a shuttle from the parking areas, which aren't that far anyway.We will have some parking near the house and i the camping field. Campers get first shot, of course.

This is a shot of the creek as of Thursday evening. This is going to be wonderful!

Monday, July 06, 2015

You are Invited to Whites Creek Palooza Sat July 11

It's Party time in the Gorge, folks! 

Hey folks, if you have questions or need information email ( or call (865-354-4363)  

The weather has been atrocious July 4th weekend but the Palooza prediction is looking awesome! If you have never attended a Whites Creek Palooza your life is incomplete. If you have, well, you know you need to be at every Palooza you can. It's for a wonderful cause and it's the best party going.

Where:  Whites Creek Conservation Easement
             Administered by Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation
             (also known as Steve and Annie's place)
             680 Black Creek Rd
             Rockwood, TN   37854       865-354-4363 

When:    Saturday July 11... 2 pm til 8 pm    Shuttle from parking along the paved road runs from before 2 til after 3. It's 150 yards to the house if you're late. Call or email if you have special needs. (Lots of us do)

What:     For the Benefit of Conservation Fisheries   You and yours (family friendly) get to:

              Participate in a biological stream survey of Whites Creek with renowned fisheries biologists
              Experience the beautiful creek and riparian gorge at Whites Creek
              Swim, snorkel, and bask with friends and real scientists
              Enjoy an excellent meal provided by Big Boy's Barbecue of Fairfield Glade
              Music by Daniel Kimbro and Mountain Soul

              Live Auction of carved sculpture, photography by National Geography's Joel Sarte,
              Much coveted mosaic by Joe and Rita and much more

              We will have some adult beverages but you are encouraged to byob

Minimum donation $30 per person. Little kids free. Medium size kids pay what you think. 

Hey it's a fund raiser. You'll feel really good about giving us your money and you'll have a great time.

Tickets may be purchased at  
 If you want to bring cash or check and pay a the door you can email me (  and reserve your tickets. 

 We limit the number of folks we can handle on this so get ready.  I promise you it will be well worth the price and you'll feel extra good about supporting the fishies.

We only let 125 of our closest friends into this. A day on the creek with food, world famous biologists, naturalists, botanists, barbecue and music...All for $30. Don't be silly! You know this is for you. And your kids. Rain or shine, we have an amazingly good time out here. There's a link for tickets. If you can't come this time, donate anyway. These folks have replenished the species diversity in the Pigeon River, Abram's Creek, and have saved the Barrens Top Minnow from extinction on this planet. You need to be a part of this!
Questions?      865-354-4363 

Legal stuff: By attending this event you acknowledge that you assume all risk for yourself and children and agree to hold harmless everyone involved for everything. Whites Creek is a natural area with all the hazards and joys of a wilderness. You understand this.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sediment Problems at Whites Creek

We had just over one inch of rain last night here at our end of the creek. This is what the water quality looked like at 10:50 am today.Not a sign of a sediment problem.

6 and a half hours later the water from Piney Creek reached us. This is what it looks like as of a few minutes ago...
I don't begrudge what you do on your land as long as you realize you are part of the larger system and act accordingly. I don't mind you mining rock from your land, but you have no right to send your mud downstream on everybody else. Not only that, it is against the law.

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Native Orchid For Me

 Until these beauties bloomed I had assumed they were showy orchids. Surprise! They are Lilyleaf Twayblades... Liparis Liliifolia.

The leaves on this one are a little smaller than my hand.  They are located on the north slope of Whites Creek Gorge in Rhea County.  The pictures are from this morning.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Protecting Private Lands is of Global Significance

This would be YOU, Whites Creek Property owners!

...when biodiversity of endemic species (those found only within the continental United States) was looked at alone, the Southeast scored highest in all six groups, making it the most important focal region for native biodiversity. “It appears that private land protection efforts, similar to public protected areas, are not prioritizing the most endemic-rich areas of the country, or at least are having less success in those areas,” the authors said. 
The full article

A second Recommended Priority Area including the Tennessee, Alabama, and northern Georgia watersheds, is primarily comprised of private lands but is globally significant for aquatic species. In these watersheds, SELC focuses on stopping unpermitted pollutant discharges into rivers, preventing hazardous mineral extraction (like coal mining and fracking), protecting healthy in-stream flows, and championing smart growth in a rapidly growing region, including protecting the limited existing national forest lands.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Earth Day Conservation Easement Survey in Roane County

Christie drove over from Nashville to survey this tract that includes a portion of Whites Creek and a lot of Piney Creek. The owner is interested in putting a conservation easement on it this year. This waterfall is a tributary to Ford Branch.
I think this is a large flowered trillium. Anybody want to jump in?
I have been unable to key this one out. It's gorgeous though. Anybody know what it is?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Whites Creek Tests Positive for Hellbenders!

This Just In...
Just got an email from Stephen Spear that the Whites Creek eDNA sample is positive. Good news! Now we just have to find one…

Regards, Mike

Dr. Michael Freake
Dept. of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Lee University

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Whites Creek Near the Source

I have met a great guy who owns the land where Whites Creek emerges from the ground. He sent me this picture taken very recently. I must make a pilgrimage very soon!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bobcat in the Garden Last Night

We wondered what had the dogs so upset last night. From looking at the tracks it took them a while to realize there was a bobcat walking around in the freshly planted garden beds. It is not a large one but this is the beginning of the breeding season and they get that wanderlust. Sometime in mid April to mid May we are not surprised to hear them scream. Not surprised when the hair on the neck stands at attention and chills run down the spine, either. We see tracks a lot more than we hear them and we hear them a lot more than we see them, except on the game and security cameras. I love knowing they are out there. The tracks are between the house and the garage.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Whites Creek Small Wild Area Trail Maintenance This Sat Jan 17

There will be a day of trail maintenance work at Whites Creek Small Wild Area on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m.

The annual event, sponsored by the Oak Ridge-based Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning [TCWP], is part of ongoing stewardship activities for the Tennessee Valley Authority Small Wild Area trail.

The trail loops onto land that TCWP purchased from Bowater several years ago, thanks to the generous support of our members, TCWP officials said in a press release.

Rhea Herald News Story with more info