The bridge over Sinking Creek

Bob and Darrell

George Zola unveiling the new bridge sign in honor of the amazing work done by Bob and Darrell

George Zola's dedication speech (It was great!)

The dream of having a hiking trail along the east shore of Lake Tellico became reality in 2003 when an agreement was signed between TVA and WATeR.  The agreement called for the design, construction and maintenance of a hiking trail.  TVA was to provide the technical assistance for the design, layout and construction specifications.  WATeR was to provide man and woman power for the construction and maintenance of the trail in accordance with TVA's specifications.

 

What started as a 2.4 mile loop has grown to 31 miles containing 9 distinct branches, 8 improved parking lots, 2 permanent restrooms and several campsites.  The trail was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2012 by the US Dept of the Interior.  During its construction over 130 individual volunteers worked on its construction.  The volunteers came from Tellico Village, Vonore, Greenback, Foothills Point, Glendale and throughout the watershed.  Some came out once and some came out for 17 years.  Regardless of the number of hours each volunteer provided, their efforts were appreciated and each one should be proud of the valuable asset they created for the community.  While the National Park and State Parks shutdown during the early days of covid, the trail remained open and received valuable exposure.  Comments from new hikers were all positive and people were surprised by the length and condition of the trail.

 

Everyone can agree that 2 individuals Bob Martin and Darrell Cuthbertson went above and beyond the call of duty with their dedication to the trail.

Bob Martin served on the board of WATeR and was the trails representative to the board.  He was also the Trails chairman during most of the trail's construction.  Being a retiree from the National Park Service he lent his expertise in trail design and bridge construction to the project.

 

The trail could not have had a better champion than Darrell Cuthbertson.  Darrell recently retired from TVA and part of his area of assignment included the Tellico watershed.  He cut through the red tape at TVA to secure the necessary funding and materials as well as  obtain approval from the various TVA depts for the location of the trail.  He also provided the materials for the WATeR annual lakeshore cleanup.

 

Bob and Darrell spent countless hours blazing, flagging and reflagging the trail through the woods.  Additionally, they demonstrated great patience training novice workers who didn't know the difference between a mattock, hoe or rake, let alone how to use them.  I can remember my first day working on the trail.  I had a hoe over my shoulder and singing the 7 dwarfs song to myself.  It didn't take long for Bob to inform me that it was unsafe to carry the tools that way and to get them off my shoulder.

 

To honor and thank Bob and Darrell for their service and dedication to the trail and also to memorialize the cooperation between TVA and WATeR we hereby dedicate this bridge, the most prominent structure on the trail, "The Cuthbertson Martin Bridge."