A Warren County Rotary Club continues its work to protect kayakers along the Barren Fork River and 100 miles of waterways.
McMinnville Breakfast Rotary Club Member Neal Cox said location markers are along the river bank and bridges to tell people exactly where they are lost. Cox said as kayaking grew in popularity, so did calls for river rescue.
“Just in the last two months we’ve had eight different groups that have been rescued by the rescue squad,” Cox said. “They were able to tell them where they were because of the mile markers that we had.”
Cox said there are mile markers are posted high above ground and along 20 bridges. Cox said getting the system in place was a team effort, thanks to mapping from TWRA and TDOT’s assistance getting signage on bridges.
He said a local Eagle Scout even pitched in to increase safety. Cox said that Eagle Scout Hannah Bailey put informational kiosks at every public access area in the county.
“At each one of the entrances you can see how long it’s going to take you to get from one place to another,” Cox said. “It’s got the mile markers on each one of them. So you can see that we have continued down the road of trying to encourage people to be safer.”
Cox said that the idea for putting signs on bridges came from his wife, Norma. He said this was to cover all the bases, making sure there would always be an identifying sign for people to see.
“We noticed that sometimes people still couldn’t find the signs,” Cox said. “So that’s what we did last year but we progressed down to how are we going to get these signs on the bridges? This was a $4,000 project, signs cost about $20 a piece and we’ve got about 20 bridges. TDOT’s Keaton Kell volunteered to put those up for us.”
Cox said the need became more apparent as more kayakers started getting on the water later in the day, ending up lost at night. The signs are coded, one example of how they work is BF05 means Barren Fork River five miles from the mouth of the river.