Reaches Development Center Visits Hatfield Knob Viewing Area

CORA and the Royal Blue Chapter RMEF hosted an elk viewing opportunity at the Hatfield Knob Wildlife Viewing Area on May 23rd, for some of the residents of the Campbell County Reaches Developmental Center.  Reaches Developmental Center houses and provides care for several of the communities disabled and physically challenged individuals. 

The event began at 6:00pm and lasted approx. 2 hours.   The weather was perfect and the elk cooperated by providing some great viewing opportunities for the 58 people in attendance.  The event was staffed by both CORA and RMEF volunteers who provided help in parking, guiding the visitors to the viewing tower and by providing information on the elk restoration program and the Hatfield Knob Viewing Area.   The residents were allowed to hold shed antlers from some of the areas elk to show them the size and feel of what makes these animals so majestic.

Since the tower will accommodate only 20 persons at one time, ground level viewing opportunities were prepared in advance.  Steve Bennett TWRA’s Elk Program Coordinator and Stan Stooksbury TWRA Royal Blue Manager provided event oversight, enforcement and answered questions about the elk during the event.  This event was also attended by Campbell County Mayor Jerry Cross and County Commissioner Ann Smith.

Reaches Developmental Center provided vehicle transportation for their residents and staff from their facility in Lafollette to the Hatfield Knob Viewing Area.  The entrance gate at the parking lot was opened to allow the Reaches vans to drive up to the tower location delivering the disabled and staff to the viewing site. 

This event resulted in quality viewing opportunities for the disabled visitors and an increased public awareness of the wonderful opportunity for the public to see Tennessee’s first and only public elk viewing location.   This event should also provide a renewed public awareness and appreciation of the organizations CORA, RMEF and TWRA.

Another field trip to the Hatfield Knob Wildlife Viewing Area is scheduled for this September to again allow the disabled and physically challenged residents to experience Tennessee’s wild elk during the fall rut.