The local meeting for you to have input on Mousetail Landing State Park’s ten-year Comprehensive Strategic Plan is tomorrow, Thursday, November 9, 2023, 5:30 p.m., at Perry County Farm Bureau in Linden. The public is invited.
Anyone interested in the process can to the TN Department of Environment & Conservation website to view the systemwide plan, individual park plans, and access to the online survey.
Comments will be accepted through November 30 through the online survey or via mail. After the comment period, the parks will present the final plans in January. The comprehensive plan will be made available online.
The draft of the plan for Mousetail is available for inspection at the TDEC website. A summary of the document includes the following short-term, mid-term, and long-term recommendations:
No short-term changes are recommended for site and facilities, operations and staffing, or customer service and visitor experience.
Mid-term goals—for the period covering the next two to five years include no changes for site and facilities, but do call for two full-time conservation worker positions and a third Park Ranger.
The conservation workers are requested because the park currently has “a two person staff for maintenance, they are stretched extremely thin. A new conservation series position would allow for better upkeep and maintenance of park grounds and facilities without over-working our current employees and causing burnout,” the recommendation states.
The other conservation worker would position would, according to the recommendation, “allow for a supervisor role to be established for the other conservation series employees at the park which would allow us to be more efficient and allow us to keep up with the standards that our visitors expect.”
Justification for a third Park Ranger is stated as providing “better scheduling/park coverage, extra security, training officer for new Rangers which is needed on site due to rate of turnover.”
Under customer service and visitor experience, mid-term recommendations include fiber internet and wi-fi access, as well as land acquisition to expand the hiking trail system, establishment of native season grass field for birding, and a possible location for a new campground and additional ranger residence.
New property acquisition “would also allow guided visits into the unique habitat of cedar barrens,” the document notes.
Long-term recommendations—five or more years—are included in the plan as follows:
“Additional bathhouse: currently we have one bathhouse that is scheduled to be remodeled to add a second toilet in the men’s and a third in the women’s. We still will need additional restrooms to serve our visitors. We currently have 46 campsites; if you average four people per site, we are trying to service 184 people on most weekends out of one bath house. The wait lines can be up to an hour to shower when we are sold out.
“Additional Ranger Residence: we currently have one; housing is one of our biggest issues in getting and retaining rangers. A park house would eliminate this and allow for better overall security of the park. Ideally, this would be for a third ranger position.
“Additional or new main campground: currently, you must climb a steep hill to access our main campground; the goal here is to remove the requirement to pull the steep hill and have a campground that is not susceptible to flooding.
“Camping-type cabins where the visitor supplies linens and little maintenance is required for upkeep and cleaning. These could be located where our current main campground is if a new one is established.
“Boat slip/house used for housing park-owned pontoon boat that would be used for work on the water, boundary patrol, and marking, and guided tours. Could also be used as a rentable facility to local boat owners, and potentially a rental operation for renting park-owned pontoon boats.”