People, places, and things that touch the lives of all of us and our friends and neighbors
February 22, 2011
As folks look up at the mountains from Highland Manor Inn, the most frequent question is, “What is that construction up near the ridgetop?” And the answer is amazing because we are seeing highway work being done on the Foothills Parkway, the oldest unfinished road construction project in Tennessee! Congress authorized its construction in 1944 and today only 1/3 of the parkway has been completed and opened to vehicles. However, the section that we are viewing has recently received funding and is progressing well.
The Park Service hopes to open our section of the Parkway by the Centennial celebration of the Park Service in 2016. The new section will connect with the 16.5-mile section which rises from Chilhowee Lake and ends at US Route 321 in Walland which includes Look Rock Tower and has been in use since 1966. The future section will end on the Wear’s Valley Road (US 321). It has been open to pedestrians, bikes and horses for years, but had a “Missing Link” of 1.6 miles where 10 bridges had to be built. Three of the bridges have been completed and when the others are done it will open up a stretch of road 16.1 miles long. From walking on it and riding my bike, I know that the view is spectacular and unlike any other in the surrounding area, so we will welcome its completion, whenever it comes! …Jennifer
What do you think about completing this section of the Foothills Parkway?
February 7th, 2011
Coyotes are elusive, usually nocturnal, creatures, but in the past few weeks several guests have seen a single animal and one saw a family of four coyotes bedding down for the night together near the woods in Cades Cove. Park employees have told us there are an adult male and female and two kits. The kits will leave their parents soon and begin a solitary existence until they start their own family.
Winter is an especially good time to watch wildlife with the increased visibility and snow to trace tracks. Also with colder temperatures at night the animals are more active during the day. Coyotes breed during January through March and are more active during this time for that reason.
You may also HEAR coyotes in the park. They are very vocal, and in fact, their Latin name, Canis latrans, means barking dog. If you listen at dusk anytime of the year, you may hear coyotes in Cades Cove. Coyotes are usually wary of the presence of humans, though, and they can detect us much better than we can detect them. Coyotes’ eyesight is six times better than that of humans and their sense of smell is 23 times better than ours! So a glimpse of one is a rare treat.
Ken and I walked 6-7 miles back Forge Creek and Parsons Branch roads last Saturday, and though we saw deer, turkeys, groundhogs, quail, meadowlarks and lots of crows we did not catch a glimpse of a coyote. So when you come to visit, keep your eyes and ears alert for wildlife. We look forward to hearing your stories of wildlife encounters! …Jennifer Have you ever spotted a coyote? We would love to hear about it!