HUNTSVILLE — The Scott County Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that it has trademarked a new phrase branding Scott County’s tourism opportunities.
“The Adventure Tourism Capital of Tennessee” is the new slogan trademarked by the Chamber of Commerce. It will be used by the Chamber to market the area’s tourism opportunities.
“With all the fun and exciting things to do, we feel this statement could not be any more true about our marvelous county,” Chamber of Commerce president Melvin Stephens said.
While the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area has long been known for its whitewater paddling and horseback riding, and the Cumberland Mountains have long been known for their ATV opportunities, Scott County is an increasingly popular destination among rock climbers mountain bikers and other thrill-seeking adventurers, prompting the Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Committee to trademark the phrase.
“The Tourism Committee has not created anything new. We’re just more effectively telling visitors what we’ve had for many years,” committee chairman Brandon Hughett said.
Stacey Kidd, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said Scott County is squarely in the middle of Tennessee’s largest adventure tourism region, making the phrase an accurate description.
“When you look at a map, and you look at the Big South Fork, Brimstone, Daniel Boone National Forest, Frozen Head State Park, Historic Rugby, and on and on, and then you place your finger directly in the center of it all, you’re in Scott County, Tennessee.”
Huntsville has become a sort of unofficial gateway to one of the nation’s most attractive get-aways for ATV enthusiasts. Between Brimstone Recreation and the state-owned North Cumberland WMA, nearly 165,000 acres and hundreds of miles of trails await off-road riders. Thousands of guests were in Huntsville last weekend for Memorial Day weekend festivals at Brimstone and at Trails End Campground, which sits adjacent to the North Cumberland entrance.
Oneida, meanwhile, is widely viewed as the entrance to the Big South Fork. Long recognized as a paradise for whitewater paddlers, horseback riders and hikers, the BSF recently received an “epic” designation from the International Mountain Biking Association for its scenic mountain bike trails.
The BSF is the only of America’s national parks to receive the prestigious designation, and is one of only a handful of national parks that are friendly to mountain bikes.
The BSF is also gaining recognition as a go-to destination for rock climbers. As Graham Averill wrote for Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, “Big South Fork has more rock than a Metallica concert.” MountainProject.com calls the BSF “one of the South’s last climbing frontiers.”
With hundreds of miles of trails for hikers and horses, the Big South Fork remains a peaceful alternative to the Great Smoky Mountains, with trails that tight-rope the cliff lines encasing the 500-ft. deep BSF river gorge, travel by waterfalls and rock houses, and explore natural stone arches and other rock formations. Both the Cumberland Trail and the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail pass through Scott County.
Dedicated anglers say that the BSF River — with its smallmouth bass, walleye, muskie and catfish — is one of Tennessee’s best-kept secrets when it comes to fishing. Big game hunting opportunities in the region include whitetail deer and wild turkey, while both the North Cumberland WMA and the BSF are among the few locations in Tennessee where wild boar can still be hunted. The North Cumberland is home to a limited elk hunt each October, while an archery bear hunt has just been approved for lands adjacent to the BSF.
“Our region is unique in that it has something for everyone,” Hughett said. “We’ve got over 500 square miles of adventure.”
Hughett said that the Chamber of Commerce must work closely with neighboring counties to help promote the entire region.
“With Historic Rugby to our Southwest and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway to our north, we are truly a vacation destination,” he said. “The possibilities are endless for our area.”