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Kingston’s 1st Muir Fest Set for Sept 9

September 2, 2017

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn.—Saturday, September 9, Kingston is celebrating the 150th anniversary of John Muir’s 1,000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida, arriving in Kingston on September 12, 1867 after crossing the Emory and Clinch Rivers.

The festival will be held outdoors at Fort Southwest Point, 1226 S. Kentucky Street, from 2 – 8 pm. Bring lawn chairs or blanket as seating is limited. Children can help release the 2,600 Sturgeon into Watts Bar Lake from 2 – 2:45 pm. Live music begins at 3 pm with Jason Eskridge, Jay Clark & the Tennessee Tree Beavers and Outta the Blue. You can also meet and talk with local and nationally-recognized naturalists and ecologists, such as:

  • Jay Clark, a professor at Maryville College who teaches Ecology and led the project to restore the black bear population in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area;
  • Larry Pounds, a noted botanist, will lead a walk and discuss Wildly Strolling Along, a book he co-authored with his son Ben about their adventures on the Cumberland Trail;
  • Mary Lynn Dobson, a local naturalist, will lead a walk and discuss her work through the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, to protect land in Roane, the Cumberland Trail and creating Tennessee's newest park, Cumming Falls;
  • Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, an organization known for helping create The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, will lead a talk about their organization; and
  • Nationally recognized fisheries biologists – and rock stars in the fish world, Pat Rakes and JR Shute of Conservation Fisheries, Inc., will discuss restoring fish populations and conservation of aquatic species.

 John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States.  Muir founded the Sierra Club, a prominent American conservation organization, and became known as ‘Father of the National Parks,’ after petitioning the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park.

“When John Muir was coming into Roane County, he declared the view as the “most heavenly place I ever entered,” said Sam Jones, Marketing & Tourism Coordinator, The Roane Alliance. “We wanted to honor this respected and influential naturalist, while celebrating a place we love.  Muir Fest will have great local music, well-known naturalists and botanists, a Sturgeon release, and much more, so we encourage everyone to come out and ‘Soak in Roane’ – and you just might win a cool prize too.” 

 The Roane Alliance will be drawing one lucky winner for the Soak in Roane prize pack worth over $1,000.  The prize pack includes a Jackson kayak from Uncle Lem’s Mountain Outfitters and a weekend stay in an RV at Caney Creek RV Resort on Watts Bar Lake.  The drawing will be held sometime after 3:30.

 “We announced in March our Soak in Roane photo contest on social media and we have had a great response,” said Pam May, Vice President, Roane Alliance, “and it’s not too late to enter – just post your best Roane County photos with #SoakinRoane by September 7th for a chance to be entered in the contest – we will let you know if your photo was chosen - or come to the festival and look for the Soak in Roane booth – but you must be entered by 3:30.  And of course we will have Muir Fest and Soak in Roane merchandise for sale.”

 The sponsors of this festival are City of Kingston, Kingston Parks & Recreation, Roane Tourism and Roane County News.  To learn more about the festival visit or look for ‘Muir Fest’ on Facebook and let your friends know you are going.