See the beauty of the large sunflower fields during the 3rd Sunflower Festival in Knoxville hosted by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Legacy Parks on Saturday.
Recognizing the public’s great interest in the large sunflower fields a few years ago, WMA Manager Bill Smith decided it would benefit TWRA and the public to have an event. “The sunflowers draw thousands of visitors every year and we want them to enjoy their aesthetic value while understanding their benefits to wildlife and hunters,” says Smith.
The Sunflower Festival will be held Saturday, July 13, 2019 from 9 a.m. to noon at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. Admission is free.
The WMA has about 70 acres planted in sunflowers this year and while their showy blooms are pleasing to the eye, they are also highly beneficial to pollinators, and the seeds they produce provide abundant food for several species of birds and other wildlife. Smith also wants to remind the public that the large sunflower fields are only present every other year as crop rotation is important to maintain soil fertility and control pests. The large sunflower fields won’t be planted again until 2021.
The free event kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday with a welcoming and interpretive talk by TWRA. A guided tour of the area will begin at 10:30 a.m. Please note: there will be no parking along the road or on private land without the landowner’s permission and commercial use and private events on the area are prohibited.
Directions to the large sunflower fields at Forks of the River WMA, 3199 McClure Lane in Knoxville, TN:
From I-40, take James White Pkwy exit (388A) and stay to the left to continue on James White Parkway. Cross over the Tenn. River and take the Sevier Ave./Hillwood Dr. Exit. Turn Left onto Sevier Ave. (turns into Hillwood Dr.). Turn right onto Island Home Ave. (at bottom of hill). Take the first left onto McClure Ln. just passed Ijams Nature Center. Follow signs to the WMA. A TWRA gravel parking lot is to the right at the end of McClure Lane.
About Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area
Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is a hunting area managed by TWRA and part of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness, a recreational, cultural, and historic preservation initiative championed by Legacy Parks Foundation. From Sept. 1 – May 31 only the perimeter trails (Will Skelton Greenway, Whaley Trail and Western Perimeter Trail) are open to the public. All other trails are open to licensed hunters only.
For more information, contact Bill Smith at 865-856-9711.