Beaver Creek has been praised and cursed, polluted and renewed.
It’s a flat, slow, shallow waterway, except when it floods. Then it spreads far from its banks, damaging buildings and ballfields, washing out roads, even flooding homes. Lately, Beaver Creek has become a close-to-home place to enjoy nature.
Led by the Beaver Creek Kayak Club, folks of all ages are taking to the creek via canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Someone will post on the club’s Facebook page – Going for my first kayak trip. What should I know? And three or four others will quickly respond with water levels, fallen tree alerts, simple encouragement.
Then folks post pictures – beautiful photos of the sun setting or the random cow standing in the creek. Someone posted a short video of two dozen ducks and ducklings, swimming in a line downstream. Others have seen beaver, deer, even an eagle.
The challenge is finding public places to put in and take out. While the creek itself is free to all, folks can’t be trespassing on private property on the banks. Here’s where we are:
Harrell Road Stormwater Park. Developer Scott Davis donated land which Knox County (Roy Arthur) and Legacy Parks Foundation (Carol Evans) developed into a wetland to hold and purify water before it runs into the creek. The park has wildflowers and a walking trail, but its best amenity is a permanent, public put-in to Beaver Creek. The kayak club was formed around this access point and volunteers hold work days to pick up trash and remove debris from the creek. The takeout is at Karns Sportspark.
Powell High School Landing: This small chunk of land is between Powell High School and Beaver Creek, accessible from Brickyard Road. Knox County Schools has installed a fence to define the area and secure the school campus. Last year, Knox County put in a gravel parking area. Aubrey’s Restaurants, Tennessee Wildlife Resources and Knox County (through the efforts of Commissioner Charles Busler) contributed to build a permanent put-in. The design has been approved by most who must permit such things and faces final approval Monday, July 27, by Knox County Commission. Legacy Parks Foundation is getting it built before the Aug. 29 flotilla, even if Carol Evans and Larsen Jay have to work on weekends. Design: Legacy Parks Powell HS Landing
Collier Preserve: This 12-acre tract adjacent to Powell Branch Library was donated to Legacy Parks Foundation by Bob and Louise Collier. Evans has secured a grant for a nature trail, boardwalk and preservation of two natural springs. She talks of a “stop-off” point – not a public put-in or take-out because of distance and limited parking – but a place where somebody already on the creek can stop for a picnic or a break. The land and funding are secured, awaiting a design and start of construction.
Clayton Park in Halls: 11 acres on Norris Freeway at Maynardville Pike. A put-in here is part of the vision – unfunded and not yet designed.
Other spots: It seems to take about an hour to float a mile, so we need other spots along the creek to establish put-ins. Anyone with an idea should contact Charlie Austin via the Beaver Creek Kayak Club’s Facebook page or this writer at sandra.clark@KnoxTNToday.com.