Newest addition at Henry Horton State Park: ropes course!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

by Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

A new low ropes course is to be the newest addition at Henry Horton State Park that will bring in more visitations to the park and county.

The course is to serve as a confidence-building or team-building activity for community groups and park visitors. In addition, it's an educational tool which encourages with teamwork, awareness, trust, cooperation, self-exploration and growth.

The idea of "Challenge by Choice" is used to ensure individuals are pushing their boundaries of comfort, but are also being safely challenged. After each obstacle is completed, participants are given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and relate them to something tangible. The larger goal for each group is to bring about long-term positive change.

The benefits for Henry Horton State Park are multi-dimensional, according to Ryan Jenkins, park ranger.

"As a park our goal is to care for our nature, history and community. A course such as this has been shown to improve participants' connection to nature and each other," Jenkins said.

With the park offering the course, more tax dollars are to be spent locally to improve the community, along with Jenkins' hopes of people learning more about our nature and history.

The course is to be facilitated by park rangers, park interpreters and community members who are trained as facilitators.

For more information on volunteering to build the course in May, email Jenkins at or find Henry Horton State Park on Facebook.

Healthy eating

Dining with Diabetes classes will be offered to anyone with diabetes, family members of diabetics or anyone at risk for diabetes.

Attendees will learn how to cook healthy meals that taste good and are easy to prepare. Recipes will be demonstrated and participants will have the opportunity to taste each dish.

Participants will learn how to analyze a recipe to determine its nutritional value; how to identify and monitor the amount of carbohydrates, sodium and fat eaten; how to modify favorite recipes to reduce refined carbohydrates, sodium and saturated fat; how to identify sources of healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, including food sources of omega 3 fatty acids; how to identify hidden sources of trans fat in food; and how to use artificial sweeteners.

Recipe booklets and handouts will be given to each participant.

"Diabetes is a very serious and costly disease, but research has shown that those who learn to manage their blood sugar levels, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly can lower their risk of complications," said Terri Orr, University of Tennesse Extension agent.

The class is to begin at 5:30 p.m. on April 27 and run for three weeks. Participants can receive Henry Horton Healthy Park, Healthy Person points for attending.