Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three National Trail of Tears Historic Trail sites in Tennessee

Now that the car repair is done I can turn my attention to fun posts. As promised, I'll be posting about our great Tennessee State Parks and travel opportunities. From historic parks and trails to souvenir shopping, this state doesn't let you down. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail offers all of those options and more. 

East Tennessee Lake
It’s hard to tell which had more impact on the southern states. Early pioneers blazed built homes and trading posts throughout Tennessee. The Civil War broke the country in half for several years. In between those two events, Native American Indians were forced off of their homelands.

This national historic trail draws its name from tears that were shed by the Cherokee Indians. Each of the following sites has significant national historic value.

Red Clay
The entire trip runs through several states along multiple routes. Visitors can choose almost any point to begin their journey. One of the popular starting points of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail is Red Clay State Historical Park in Bradley County. It was the last tribal counsel ground of the Cherokee. The park has large grassy fields, an interpretive center and picnic area. The deep cool spring is a source of many tales. Some true, others not.

Brainerd Mission Cemetery
The cemetery is a short stop of national historic interest. Inside, it contains the remains of several Cherokee Indians and was once the site of a school for Cherokee Indian children. The cemetery is in the parking lot of East Gate Mall. A stand of tall trees makes it stand out from the surrounding commercialism and is hard to miss.

During 1838 and 1839 many of the Cherokee Indians made their way through this area. It was the site of a bustling trading post and shipping center. This was the second site in the state to become an official National Trail of Tears Historic Trail site.  

Today, visitors can fish and hike along the Red River (TN regulations apply). An interpretive walk can be scheduled ahead of time.

Tennessee has several other sites on the National Trail of Tears Historic Trail. Visitors can find out about traveling to all of them on this website of the National Parks Service.  

Not all of the sites are on public lands. It is important to be respectful of the wishes of private property owners. Doing so will help keep these sites available to other people who want to travel on the National Trail of Tears Historic Trail.

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