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Advisory committee review progress at Bear Creek Education Center

Wheels are in motion at Bear Creek Education Center, and the Bear Creek Education Center Advisory Board reviewed recent developments at a meeting at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

The facility, which was taken over by Hodges after being abandoned by the BCDA, was in need of extensive rehabilitation. With Rock Bridge Canyon staff and numerous volunteers rolling out their sleeves, and donors pulling out their wallets, significant progress has been made toward returning Bear Creek Education Center to its formerly glory.

Gas lines have been repaired, and the dining facility has a new four-burner stove with a fryer and griddle. Work has also taken place outside, where paths need to be re-established, parking areas need to be formed and the landscape needs attention.

“Volunteers and our staff have been working and cleaning up the underbrush, and I’ve got good news and bad news,” said Rock Bridge Canyon’s Mike Franklin. “The bad news is, after we had it to where you could see the lake, and it was beautiful – we piled up all the brush, and we were getting ready to burn it – we got flooded. The lake rose as high as I have ever seen it. All of that that we had gotten cleaned up has new debris that the lake left … But the good news is, the underbrush is cut, and you can see the lake.”

Led by Chairman Donald Borden, the advisory committee also conferred on Franklin’s discussions with the TVA about putting in a deck over the lake for boating, canoeing and swimming; whether or not a beachfront should be added to the amenities; and plans for future purchases, including new mattresses for the bunks.

With local school group already expressing interest in overnight stays at Bear Creek Education Center, the advisory committee also discussed logistics and decided the center is probably not quite to the point to accommodate large-scale group stays just yet, although day trips, everyone agreed, were probably manageable.

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