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State: Don’t Avoid Outdoors Because of Pests

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; June 11, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While ticks and mosquitoes are setting records for early arrival and rates of infectious diseases carried, the Department of Health reminds everyone that most people should not avoid healthy outdoor activity.

“Outdoor physical activity provides too many important health benefits to be cancelled because of ticks and mosquitoes,” said Abelardo Moncayo, Ph.D., with TDH Communicable and Environmental Diseases and Emergency Preparedness. ”It’s true diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever carried by ticks and West Nile virus carried by mosquitoes can be quite serious. Effective tick and mosquito-borne disease prevention strategies should be part of healthy outdoor exercise and recreation.”

Follow these suggestions for avoiding insect bites:

  • Use insect repellants such as DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 on your skin, following all label recommendations for usage. Pay particular attention to recommendations for use on children, and never apply any of these products around the mouth or eyes at any age. Consult your health care provider if you have questions.
  • Certain products containing permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear. Permethrin is highly effective as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes and other pests and retains this effect after repeated laundering. Some commercial products are available pretreated with permethrin. Permethrin is not to be used directly on skin.
  • Do not use perfumes, colognes or scented deodorants or soap if you’re going outside, as fragrances may attract insects.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent bites through the fabric. Long-sleeve shirts and long pants are best. For improved effectiveness, tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants to form bug barriers.
  • Wear light-colored clothing when possible so ticks and crawling insects can more easily be seen and removed.
  • Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk; be mindful of their feeding patterns and take extra precautions at these times.

If you find a tick embedded in your skin, don’t use fingernail polish, matches or oil as a home remedy to remove it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following steps:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthparts with tweezers. If you’re unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. If you experience nausea, fever, chills, aches or rashes after a tick bite, contact your health care provider; these could be signs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

While most mosquito and tick bites are minor irritations, individuals should contact their health care provider if they experience a sudden onset of fever, headache and body aches during the spring and summer months. People with Rocky Mountain spotted fever may also experience nausea and vomiting.

“A combination of preventive measures should allow most Tennesseans to be active outdoors,” said Moncayo. “We always advise those with known health conditions to consult with their health care provider before engaging in strenuous outdoor activities.”

Some areas in Tennessee are already reporting positive tests for West Nile virus in mosquitoes. Mild winter weather may have contributed to early growth of local mosquito populations. WNV can also impact birds; individuals who see a dead crow or blue jay on their property are urged to contact their local health department, which can coordinate testing of the bird. This can serve as an early warning if WNV is present in a community. For contact information for your local health department, visit http://health.state.tn.us/localdepartments.htm.

To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit the TDH website at http://health.state.tn.us/ceds/WNV/wnvhome.asp.

For more information on protecting yourself from ticks, visit www.cdc.gov/Features/StopTicks/.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of those who live in, work in or visit Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit http://health.state.tn.us/.

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Press Releases

Saturday is ‘Tennessee Trails Day’

Press Release from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, June 2, 2011:

Several State Parks and Natural Areas to Mark Event with Volunteer Activities and Hikes

NASHVILLE – In conjunction with National Trails Day, Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed Saturday, June 4, Tennessee Trails Day – encouraging Tennesseans to join in several activities at Tennessee State Parks and Natural Areas.

“The state’s greenways and trails not only provide many benefits to Tennesseans, they attract visitors from around the world – contributing to Tennessee’s tourism industry and providing economic support to our communities,” said Haslam. “Tennessee Trails Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate those who have provided countless volunteer hours to create and maintain the trails we enjoy every day.”

The Tennessee celebration coincides with the American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day, which began in 1993 and is the largest single-day trails and outdoor celebration in the country. Thousands of people are expected to get outside and participate in events at local, state and national parks, forests and other public lands from coast to coast.

“The department’s Resource Management Division and Tennessee State Parks will be offering a wide variety of interesting activities across the state, including trail restoration, cleanup efforts and several guided scenic and birding hikes,” added Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Our main focus is to engage Tennesseans in appreciating and enjoying these public areas.”

For a complete schedule of events and hike details, please visit the Tennessee State Park’s website at www.tnstateparks.com/events/trailsday. Please also find attached a complete listing of these planned activities.

All events are scheduled for Saturday, June 4, and all times are local. Participants should bring water and food, and wear long pants, sturdy and appropriate footwear and work gloves. While most tools will be provided, some projects will require volunteers to bring specific items. Some activities require reservations, so please call to ensure an opportunity to participate.

Tennessee’s 53 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com.

Tennessee also has 81 designated State Natural Areas throughout the state, covering approximately 120,000 acres of ecologically significant lands. More information about Tennessee’s Natural Areas Program, including a complete list of all natural areas and scheduled field trips, can be found at www.tn.gov/environment/na/.

Since 1993, the American Hiking Society has set aside the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day, bringing together outdoor enthusiasts to participate in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail projects. It also provides an opportunity to recognize the many volunteers, land managing agencies and outdoor-minded businesses for their support in developing and maintaining trails.

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Press Releases

TN ‘National Trails Day’ Events, June 5

State of Tennessee Press Release, May 28, 2010 :

State Parks and Natural Areas to Mark Event with Volunteer Activities and Hikes

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans are encouraged to participate in several activities at Tennessee State Parks and Natural Areas in celebration of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 5.

The Tennessee celebration coincides with the American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day, which began in 1993 and is the largest single-day trails and outdoor celebration in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to get outside and participate in events at local, state and national parks, forests and other public lands from coast to coast.

Governor Phil Bredesen has proclaimed June 5 as Tennessee Trails Day. In addition, the Department of Environment and Conservation’s Resource Management Division’s State Natural Areas and several Tennessee State Parks are offering special activities including interpretative hikes, trail repair and trailblazing.

“Tennessee’s greenways and trails provide benefits enjoyed by Tennesseans and visitors to our state alike,” said Bredesen. “National Trails Day gives us an opportunity to honor the commitment of those who provide countless volunteer hours to create and maintain the trails we enjoy every day.”

All events are scheduled for Saturday, June 5, and all times are local. Participants should bring water and food, and they should wear long pants, sturdy and appropriate footwear and work gloves. While most tools will be provided, some projects will require volunteers to bring specific items.

Program descriptions and contact information for National Trails Day events in Tennessee involving Tennessee State Parks and Natural Areas include:

East Tennessee

Frozen Head State Park – Join park staff for both an interpretative hike and trail work during Frozen Head’s Volunteer Trail Day. For more information, please contact the park at (423) 346-3318.

Hampton Creek Cove Natural Area – Join leaders Judy Murray (Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy), Bob Hardin (Overmountain Victory Trail Association) and Lisa Huff (Tennessee Natural Areas) for a trail maintenance day at Hampton Creek Cove Natural Area.

Groups will be divided in two efforts – one will finish some earlier maintenance on the Shell Hollow Trail, with some minor digging with fire rakes and mattocks along with some installation of water bars and permanent trail blazes. The other group will hike about two miles up to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (Cove Ridge Segment), where trail tools will be cached for their use. They will pick up their tools and head down trail to dig out sloughed portions of the upslope side of the trail tread. When finished they will hike down with the tools. The level of difficulty is moderate, but the hike up the OVNHT is relatively steep and strenuous.

The views from the highlands are spectacular, so this is a great outing opportunity. The birding is good throughout the cove and participants should expect to hear and see lots of birds, including the rare golden-winged warbler. This will be a casual hike through cedar glades and barrens, with a focus on clearing the invasive plants. As an extra treat, participants will be hiking during a prime flowering period, with much to see.

Participants are asked to meet in the Hampton Cove parking area promptly at 9:30 a.m. Reservations are required. Please contact Judy Murray at roanwoman@aol.com by June 1. For more information including description, directions and a map of Hampton Creek Cove, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/hampton/.

Middle Tennessee

Flat Rock Cedar Glade and Barrens State Natural Area –Tennessee Natural Areas Program’s Brian Bowen will lead a day hike through Flat Rock Cedar Glade and Barrens State Natural Area near Murfreesboro. Additional activities on this three-mile trail will include pulling invasive plants from the area, including Ox-Eyed Daisy and Queen Ann’s Lace – which are easy to pull and scattered along the trail.

This will be a casual hike through the cedar glade and barrens, with a focus on clearing the invasive plants. As an extra treat, participants will be hiking during a prime flowering period, with much to see. For more information including description, directions and a map of Flat Rock Cedar Glade and Barrens go to: www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/flatrock/.

Participants are asked to meet in the Target parking lot off of Bell Road and I-24 (near Hickory Hollow) in Nashville at 9 a.m. Participants also can meet at the Flat Rock parking area on Factory Road east of Murfreesboro at 9:45 a.m. Reservations are required. Please contact Brian Bowen at (615) 532-0436 or Brian.Bowen@tn.gov by June 3.

Short Springs State Natural Area – Join Stewardship Ecologist Forrest Evans for trail maintenance at Short Springs Natural Area. A small creek currently goes across the trail and participants will build a series of steppingstones to keep hikers out of the creek and wet area. Other trail work will be optional. The event is sponsored by the Tennessee Natural Areas program, Friends of Short Springs and the Tennessee Trails Association.

Participants should meet at the Short Springs parking area at 10 a.m. Volunteers are welcome to leave at noon. All tools will be provided. In the event of heavy rain, the effort will be canceled. From Tullahoma take Short Springs Road to the water tower and park in the gravel parking lot. For more information, visit http://tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/shortsprings.

South Cumberland State Park – Join park rangers and staff at South Cumberland State Park for various National Trail Day events and activities. For more information about these events, please call the park at (931) 924-2980.

Stone Door Nature Hike – Join Ashlie at the Stone Door Ranger Station at 9 a.m. to learn about Tennessee native trees and wildflowers and soak up some incredible views. This is an easy family friendly two-mile hike, so bring the kids, water and a snack.

The Role That Caves Play Hike – Participants will discover geology as they visit entrances to sink holes and caves, discussing how they fit into the ecosystem. Meet the naturalist at the Carter State Natural Area parking lot at 10 a.m. for this four-mile hike.

Savage Falls Hike – Meet Seasonal Ranger Aaron at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station at 1 p.m. for a moderate four-mile hike to see beautiful Savage Falls. In addition to water and snacks, please wear sturdy shoes and tick repellent.

Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park –Join park rangers and staff for a rewarding morning of trail work, along with a guided hike on Bunkum Cave Trail at Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park in Byrdstown. Participants are asked to meet at the trailhead at 9 a.m. and tools will be provided. For more information about the hike, please call (931) 864-3247.

West Tennessee

Carroll Cabin Barrens State Natural Area –Join West Tennessee Stewardship Ecologist Allan J. Trently for trail rerouting at Carroll Cabin Barrens State Natural Area. Currently, a small section of the trail currently goes through a seep in a barren. To keep hikers away from this wet area and deter damage to the barren due to foot traffic, participants will assist in building a short re-route around the seep and the barren. Since barrens are treeless, it will be important to wear a hat and sunscreen and bring plenty of water. Volunteers are welcome to leave at noon, but are encouraged to stay if the re-route is not finished by lunch. All tools will be provided.

Participants are asked to meet in the Carroll Cabin Barrens parking area at 9:30 a.m. Reservations are required. Please contact Allan Trently at (731) 512-1369 or Allan.Trently@tn.gov by June 3. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be canceled. For more information including description, directions and a map of Carroll Cabin Barrens, please visit the Web site at www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/carrollcabin/.

Fort Pillow State Historic Park – Join Ft. Pillow staff at 9 a.m. for a five-mile interpretative hike along the Blue Trail. Participants will travel along bluffs located above the Mississippi River. The park has been designated as a Wildlife Observation Area and provides sanctuary for deer, turkey, and is a favorite destination for bird watchers. For more information about the hike, please call (731) 738-5581.

Natchez Trace State Park – Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath for a work day and hike at Natchez Trace State Park’s Red Leaves Trail. The Red Leaves Trail is one of many lightly used trails that benefit from more traffic and better tread definition. Participants are asked to meet in the Visitor Center parking lot at 10 a.m. For more information call Randy at (615) 418-5787.

Tennessee’s 53 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com.

Tennessee also has 80 designated State Natural Areas throughout the state, covering approximately 116,000 acres of ecologically significant lands. More information about Tennessee’s Natural Areas Program, including a complete list of all natural areas and scheduled field trips, can be found at www.tn.gov/environment/na/.

Since 1993, the American Hiking Society has set aside the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day, bringing together outdoor enthusiasts to participate in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail projects. It also provides an opportunity to recognize the many volunteers, land managing agencies and outdoor-minded businesses for their support in developing and maintaining trails.