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Friends Conference at Pickwick Landing State Park

In early November, I visited Pickwick Landing State Park for the first time to attend the Friends of State Parks Conference. This Western Tennessee park is about ten minutes from the Mississippi state line, and its lodge overlooks the Tennessee River. (1)


Small couches and chairs line a large hall with circular light fixtures hanging from wooden beams on the ceiling in Pickwick Landing State Park in Tennessee
The lobby of Pickwick Landing State Park's lodge

My room had a great view of the river. 



This park has so much to keep visitors busy including a restaurant, golf course, disc golf course, and three beaches. (2) It also has its own marina where visitors can rent canoes, stand up paddle boards, and kayaks. (3) When I visited the marina, I saw several people fishing. 


Trees line the water on the left, and boats are moored at covered docks on the right under a blue sky at Pickwick Landing State Park in Tennessee
Part of the marina

The conference kept me busy. Friends members from all over the state exchanged advice and tips during sessions, and it was so interesting to hear what other groups are doing for their parks. 


Decorated poster boards sit on tables in front of a wall of windows in Pickwick Landing State Park lodge in Tennessee
Each Friends group displayed their accomplishments on a table

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Conservation Greer Tidwell gave a State of the State Parks address. (4) He updated us on park projects, including the construction of new lodges at Henry Horton State Park and Natchez Trace State Park. He also discussed the park system’s four new additions: Devil’s Backbone State Park, Middle Fork Bottoms State Park, North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Park, and Scott’s Gulf Wilderness State Park. (5)


I did manage to go for a quick hike during the weekend. I hiked the Island Loop Trail. The map says that this trail is 2.25 miles, but the sign at the trailhead says it is 2.8 miles. (6) There’s a small parking lot at the trailhead as well.


It was a beautiful fall afternoon for a hike. 



I saw stones along the trail which is all that’s left of cabins once used by a group of Civilian Conservation Corps members. (7)


A small park sign sits in front of moss-covered boulders among trees and fallen leaves in Pickwick Landing State Park in Tennessee
Stones from Civilian Conservation Corps cabins

I also learned that the name “Pickwick Landing” came from a local Charles Dickens fan. The first postmaster named his post office “Pickwick” after Dickens’ book, “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.” (8)


I’d love to return to Pickwick Landing State Park again - preferably in warm weather so I can kayak. Maybe I’ll see you out there!


1/19/24

 

(7) Sign on Island Loop Trail in Pickwick Landing State Park

(8) Sign on Island Loop Trail in Pickwick Landing State Park; https://dickensmuseum.com/blogs/explore/the-pickwick-papers-summary

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