Chip Hillis, manager of Cumberland Mountain State Park, has worked at the park since 1989. He remembers special family time using the Civilian Conservation Corps picnic tables found near the boat dock in the park.
There are 16 tables and the supports of galvanized pipes are still the original supports installed in the late 1930s.
This was once the main recreational area for the park. Hillis said the CCC 3464 boys also build Shelter 4.
Each of the picnic tables had a grill and offers a beautiful view of Byrd Lake where there had been a swimming area before the Olympic-size swimming pool was installed.
Hillis remembers his family outings using those CCC tables. There was fishing, swimming, boating and grilling. He remembers playing in the water next to their picnic site and a spot where they let fish tickle their toes.
There, he had his first experience smelling hamburgers and hot dogs as they cooked on the grill.
All the tables were occupied, he recalls, so you had to be early to get one.
The theme of safe recreation for all people and families is seen throughout the state park system. You can find CCC legacy picnic tables made with rock, cement and logs. The Cumberland Mountain State Park table cleverly used plumbing pipes to support the wood plank benches and tabletops.
Though the planks for the benches and table tops have been replaced since the 1930s, they are again in need of attention.
The Friends of Cumberland Mountain State Park have launched a campaign to fix those picnic tables up. They have set a goal to raise $2,400, enough to provide the $150 needed to replace the planks on each table.
The campaign will end May 6 with snacks for any donors available at Shelter 4 by the boat dock from 4-6 p.m. Bring your donation to the shelter or mail checks made out to Friends of CMSP to P.O. Box 3021, Crossville, Tn 38555, or donate via PayPal to Friends.CMSP or Friends of CMSP and specify the funds are for the picnic tables.
Hillis and Ranger Mark Houston will be available for questions.
This date/time is also the end of The Big Payback donation period. Donations can be made at www.thebigpayback.org/FCMSP from 6 p.m. May 5 to 6 p.m. May 6.
RSVP for refreshments by calling 931-787-1925. Leave a message with the number attending.