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TCBC offering sailing course; time to apply for TWRA quota hunts

• Jun 18, 2017 at 1:40 AM

Has the America’s Cup got you eager to head out on the water? The Tri-Cities Boating Club may have just what you’re looking for.

The TCBC is offering an eight-week sailing course on Watauga Lake.

The eight-class course, which runs from June 26 through Aug. 21, begins at 6 p.m. on consecutive Monday evenings and ends at dusk. Classes are being held at the Sail Dock at Watauga Lake's Lakeshore Marina.

Each class includes both classroom and on-the-water training and offers basic skills and knowledge of the sport. Students must provide their own life jackets to be worn during the on-the-water portion of the class.

Rich Moakler, chair of the Education Committee of the Tri-Cities Boating Club, said this sailing course was created to serve the needs of the novice or non-sailor as well as the experienced sailor.

The course starts with basic sailboat designs and nomenclature, rigging, safety and sail processes. It then tackles the physical aspects of sailing forces and techniques, sail applications, marlinespike, helmsmanship and handling of more difficult sailing conditions and navigation rules, and includes an introduction to heavy weather sailing.

The course costs $50 for TCBC and Watauga Lake Sailing Club members and $100 for non-club members. The fee includes all required learning materials.

For more information, contact Steve Brumit at (423) 737-9922 or swbrumit@gmail.com.

The Tri-Cities Boating Club, a unit of the U.S. Power Squadron, offers programs that educate individuals on safe boating while also having fun on the water and supporting community projects.

It’s application time for TWRA quota hunts

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s application period for the 2017 Wildlife Management Area big game quota hunts, the regular elk, youth elk and WMA youth hunts opened June 14 and runs though July 26.

Entries must be submitted before midnight Central time on July 26.

The WMA hunting instruction sheet lists locations and dates for each of the quota hunts along with drawing rules and regulations. Instruction sheets can be obtained and hunt applications made at any TWRA license agent, TWRA regional office or online at tn.gov/twra. Mailed applications will not be processed into the drawing system.

There is no fee for current Annual Sportsman License holders, Lifetime Sportsman License holders or seniors possessing a Type 167 Annual Senior Citizen Sportsman License. For all other applicants, there is a non-refundable $12 permit fee for each drawing entered. There is a $1 agent fee for applications made at a license agent and there is a $2 internet usage fee for online applications.

The WMA (elk hunts excluded) priority points system gives a priority point for each year a hunter participates without being successfully drawn for a hunt. Applicants drawn for a hunt last year will start over with a priority of zero.

After the drawings are conducted, leftover permits will be sold online, beginning Aug. 23 at 8 a.m. Central time, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The state’s ninth gun elk hunt will be held Oct. 14-20 and seven individuals will be selected to participate. Six of the participants will be selected through a computer drawing. The seventh will be the recipient of a permit that is donated to a non-governmental organization (NGO), which will be announced at a later date. That permit will be auctioned with proceeds going to the elk program.

This also will be the second year for an archery-only hunt with seven permits added. Archery hunt dates are Sept. 30-Oct. 6.

A Young Sportsman Elk Hunt will be held for a sixth year but its time frame has been expanded. The dates will be Oct. 7-13. Those applying must be between the ages of 13-16 and a resident of Tennessee at the time of the hunt.

Snakes aren’t ‘bad’ — just watch your step

It’s nice out and creatures — like us! — finally have ventured out of hibernation.

And yes, that also includes snakes.

Few people consider snakes to be their favorites of the animal kingdom, but they are extremely important to have around to control various pests. Many larger snakes eat mice, rats, moles, voles and other small mammals. Smaller snakes eat bugs, slugs and other very small pests.

That doesn’t mean you want to step on one, though, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers a few commonsense precautions to avoid contact:

• If you’re outside doing yard work, hiking or the like, never put your hands or feet somewhere you cannot see.

• Use long-handled tools if you are moving things like landscape timbers, rocks or piles of mulch, just in case a snake or other wildlife may be hiding under it.

• When hiking, take along a walking stick or similar implement to poke around any tall grass or rocks you are about to venture through to make sure there are no hidden creatures.

And rest assured: Snakes do not chase people. They have no reason to; you’re far too big to be considered prey. In fact, you’d be considered a predator.

Snakes normally do not see as well as people, though, so if one’s heading toward you, it probably doesn’t realize it. Simply move out of its way.

Parks to do their part for Tennessee Promise

Tennessee State Parks are offering volunteer events across the state on Saturday to help Tennessee Promise scholars log community service hours.

All 56 Tennessee State Parks are offering volunteer events, which include litter cleanups, trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, summer event assistance and more. Projects are intended to beautify Tennessee’s parks as well as provide meaningful outdoor experiences for volunteers. Tennessee Promise mentors and the general public are invited to volunteer as well.

For more information or to register as a volunteer, go online at tnstateparks.com.

Parks in our region participating on June 24 include:

• Warriors Path State Park, Kingsport (trail improvement work beginning at 9 a.m.; meet at the pool parking lot)

• Roan Mountain State Park, Roan Mountain (removal of litter and plant species from along the banks of the Doe River from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; meet at the park’s Conference Center)

• Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, Elizabethton (cleaning up Fort Watauga and the surrounding grounds, invasive plant removal, litter pick up and other manual labor from 10 a.m.-noon; meet at the Visitor Center lobby).

It’s Great American Campout time!

The Great American Campout is almost here, though Natural Tunnel State Park in Duffield is getting a one-day head start on the fun.

Natural Tunnel is holding a two-day camping party at the gazebo starting Friday. The cost is $50 for a family of four, with another $10 for each extra member. The program starts at 4 p.m. on Friday and concludes at noon Saturday. Guests must provide their own tents and sleeping attire.

Reservations are required. To receive a Campout packet, call the park at (276) 940-2674. Natural Tunnel State Park is located at 1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway, Duffield, Va.

Hungry Mother State Park also is celebrating the day. Guests are invited to stop by the Welcome Campfire at 8 p.m. on Saturday and enjoy a s’more, meet fellow campers and make memories, then enjoy a free night of camping (campers must bring their own camping supplies, food and drinks) at the Camp Burson Group Area.

Campsite setup may begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday and guests may stay until 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. Campers must call (276) 781-7415 to schedule groups. Hungry Mother State Park is located at 2854 Park Blvd., Marion, Va.

For more information about Virginia State Parks, call (800) 933-7275 or go online virginiastateparks.gov.

The nationwide Great American Campout, each June 24, was created by the National Wildlife Foundation to help families learn about camping.