Ranger Mark Taylor, Silver Point, explaining to hikers the significance of an artifact found on the trail.

Everyone is invited to start the New Year with healthy exercise, good food and fellowship at Edgar Evins State Park, located in Silver Point, Tennessee, on Center Hill Lake. 

Meetup will be at 10 A.M. on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, in the Marina parking lot, next to the covered shelters, for a 2 ½ mile moderate hike led by a park ranger. The hike is family and child friendly. 

Bring a prepared dish to share if you wish to stay for the feast! 

Those who wish to hike more may do so on their own or with other hikers on the 2-mile Nature Trail near the office, also rated moderate due to the hilly terrain.  

All Tennessee State Parks offer a New Year’s Day Hike but the original one was at Edgar Evins State Park with an even earlier history that dates back decades. It possibly is also the only one that offers a communal meal after the hike. 

Enjoying an earlier New Year’s Day Feast in the covered shelter are Anna and Fount Bertram, President of Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, Bradyville, and Guy and Paula Zimmerman, Cookeville seated at the far side of the table.

The New Year’s Day Hike began as an annual event of the Tennessee Trails Association, a statewide hiking and trail building organization. Early ones were held at various locations including Frozen Head State Park, Cardwell Mountain, and the Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness. All involved backpacking with the food and spreading it out on plastic garbage bags laid end to end on the ground. Diners also sat on the ground. Sometimes it involved hazardous creek crossings in wet weather. 

Then about 10 years ago, Edgar Evins State Park graciously offered a covered shelter for the event. That has been a wonderful arrangement and with the exception of last year when the feast was moved indoors to the Interpretive Center due to zero temperatures, all have been held in the shelter in front of an open fireplace. There are electrical outlets and a nearby source of water and restroom facilities.

“It is like heaven in comparison to the old days when we served and ate on the ground,” says Fount Bertram, President of Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and a longtime member of Tennessee Trails Association. “It was an excellent opportunity to make it a joint event for TTA and the Friends, and we also opened it to the public,” Bertram continues. “Now that a First Hike is mandated by the Governor it is also an official park function. The arrangement works well for all.”

2018 was the only year we moved the feast inside to the Interpretive Center due to record breaking zero temperatures. Despite the frigid weather there was a good turnout from all over the state. The Rangers on the back row, far right, are Brad Halfacre, the new Park Manager, and Ranger Mark Taylor, Silver Point.

For more information about the event you may visit: www.foeesp.com or https://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/edgar-Evins or find us on Facebook. Friends of Edgar Evins State Park is an all-volunteer non-profit membership organization with the sole purpose of supporting the park. Park office phone: (931) 858-2114 or 800-250-8619.

The park is located at 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point, TN 38582. The entrance is in DeKalb County, on Center Hill Lake, approximately 20 miles north of Smithville, 20 miles west of Cookeville, and 60 miles east of Nashville, across the highway from Big Rock Market and Caney Fork Outdoors. From I-40 take exit 268 at State Hwy. 96 and Center Hill Lake.