Knox crew clears Beaver Creek flotilla route

Sandra ClarkGet Out & Play, Powell

Officials from the Knox County Mayor’s Office and the Parks & Recreation Department floated the Beaver Creek flotilla route to make sure it’s accessible for the summer months.

The group paddled the route and cleared several blocked areas. Brandon Keys, the county’s digital media specialist, captured the trip on camera. The short video he produced features Parks & Rec workers Joe Inman and Mike Edsell floating the creek and sawing through several fallen limbs throughout the waterway.

The 2.2-mile stretch from Powell High School to the Weigel’s store at 7505 Clinton Highway is home to an annual event each August that sees more than 100 kayaks, canoes and paddleboarders make their way down the stream. The event is designed to showcase the creek and its designation as a “water trail.”

Mayor Glenn Jacobs is looking into the feasibility of overseeing Beaver Creek’s entire 38-mile stretch from Clayton Park in Halls to its mouth at Melton Hill Lake in Hardin Valley.

For now, though, the county will help the Beaver Creek Kayak Club volunteers with some cleanup along the flotilla route.

“When this project is completed, we’re hoping that you’ll be able to come out here to Powell High School, put your kayak in and float 10 to 15 miles down to the Karns area, which would be a really relaxing, enjoyable day,” said Bryan Hair, the chief of staff for Mayor Jacobs.

Hair, who accompanied the crew, added: “We’re seeing a lot of people come regionally just to this area, simply because of the water trail that we have at our disposal. Our Parks & Recreation team has done an incredible job of not only making it safe and accessible but setting it up for success for years to come beyond the flotilla – making it truly a tourist destination for Knox County.”

Knox County Parks & Rec has a lot going on. Here’s Mike Donila’s recap for this week.

Second Saturday Concerts: Originally set for June, July and August at New Harvest Park and The Cove at Concord Park, the dates were moved to July, August and September.

“Right now, we’re in limbo for when we can start,” said Donila. “The Health Board on Wednesday agreed to follow the state’s re-opening plan – but in two weeks. That would be around July 1. Our first concerts start on July 11 (the second Saturday).”

Donila said that’s fast turnaround, but manageable. Under the state rules, singers must stand 15 feet from the audience and crowd gatherings are similar to restaurants (groups of six together but must remain six feet apart from others).

In other news:

  • Earlier this week, we got the go-ahead to re-open the basketball and volleyball courts, so crews spent a few days putting the goals and nets up again.
  • Restrooms at the parks also are open.
  • We’re also in discussions with the state to work on the overflow parking at House Mountain. We started before the COVID-19 pandemic but stopped a short time later. Expect to see crews back out there when the new fiscal year starts on July 1.

 Dog Parks grants: The Boyd Family Foundation will give 10 dog-park grants worth $50,000 each to five city and five county neighborhoods that apply and meet the criteria. The information is now available at The deadline to apply is June 30. The nomination period will be followed by a social engagement period from July 1-24 where neighborhoods are encouraged to show why they need a dog park on social media using the #KNDP.

Paddle at Ijams: Rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard from RiverSports Outfitters for $14/hour and enjoy the lake at Mead’s Quarry. Private boats are not allowed on the lake. Hours for on-site rental are Monday-Saturday, 10-7; Sunday, noon-7. Info here or phone 865-523-0066.

Knoxville Parks and Rec: Now accepting applications for its 2020 Challenge Grant Program, which offers grants up to $2,500 to nonprofit projects associated with public parks or recreation facilities located within city limits. Deadline to apply is Friday, June 26. Application is here.

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