Something for everyone trying to shake off the winter blahs
Winter is finally beginning to ease its grip to make way for sunshine and warmer weather. It is the perfect time to shake off those winter blahs and discover everything the Jackson County Department of Parks and Recreation has to offer.
“They’ve got something for everyone,” says Darrell Combs, Jackson County Parks superintendent.
Combs’ department maintains 118 acres in five county parks, each with a variety of amenities and activities for your family.
The parks include the Big Hill Welcome Center, Flat Lick Falls, Gray Hawk Park, Sand Gap Community Park and Worthington Park. Each has a variety of amenities for sports, picnics, barbecues or walking to stay fit.
Big Hill Welcome Center
The Big Hill Welcome Center sits on three acres along Highway 421 near Sand Gap. It may be better known as the Simpson-Cox House, which was used as a Civil War hospital during the Battle of Big Hill in 1862.
The property was purchased by The Nature Conservancy as part of the Rockcastle River Project, a land conservation program. Jackson County Fiscal Court later purchased the property and renovated it in 2006 with a TEA (Transportation Equity Act) grant. It now serves as a welcome center and interpretive site.
Flat Lick Falls
Flat Lick Falls, located off Highway 421 near Gray Hawk, is one of the county’s hidden treasures. It consists of more than five miles of hiking trails, a bath house, a wheelchair-accessible overlook and a 28-foot waterfall along Flat Lick Creek that is one of the most picturesque spots in the state.
The waterfall was once on private property, but it now belongs to Jackson County and has been transformed into a public park and the county’s only public swimming hole.
“Flat Lick Falls is one of the real treasures of Jackson County,” says Judy Schmitt, a Jackson County volunteer project coordinator. “When the weather is nice and school is out, there is almost always someone swimming there.”
Gray Hawk Park
Gray Hawk Community Park is a nine-acre piece of property that sits just off Highway 421 adjacent to McCammon Branch and McCammon Ridge Falls. It includes playgrounds, picnic shelters, a soccer field, basketball court, restrooms and a horse ring that plays host to an annual horse show.
Sand Gap Community Park
The Sand Gap Community Park is a six-acre piece of property that sits on S-Tree Road just off Highway 421. It consists of playgrounds, picnic shelters, a basketball court, tennis courts, a baseball field and a paved walking track.
Worthington Park sits just off Highway 3630 near Annville. It is a 14-acre piece of property built on two levels. On the upper level you will find playgrounds, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, picnic shelters, grills, a baseball field and restrooms. The lower level sits adjacent to Pond Creek and consists of more picnic shelters and grills, a climbing cage and a paved walking track.
“There really is a wide selection of things to do,” Combs says. “There is just about always something going on.”
For more information about the area’s parks, visit www.visitjacksoncountyky.com.