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Big Hill Pond offers local recreation

Big Hill Pond State Park is home to the beautiful 165-acre Travis McNatt Lake. Staff Photo by Megan Smith

Many are unaware that one can fish on a 165-acre lake, trek across miles of hiking trails, gallop on horseback riding trails, and camp in primitive sites in McNairy County.  

All of these opportunities along with many more are available at Big Hill Pond State Park.

“When you’ve got a state park right here close, there’s so much to do.  They just don’t realize it,” said Park Manager Jim Harrison.

Big Hill Pond State Park holds a special place in Harrison’s heart.

Harrison said, “As I grow up as a kid, my ideal job was either a game warden or a park ranger.  I feel very fortunate to have been able to have done what I’ve done.  When I started college I was planning on getting into wildlife or something, and this came along. I looked up all the information on it.  I was astounded with all the awesome opportunities we had in parks, and that’s where I kind of made my home.  

“I’m very passionate about parks.  I’m passionate about this place.  When I get up in the morning, I’m just as excited now as I was 30 years ago,” Harrison stated.

Big Hill Pond State Park is home to a Boardwalk, which is nearly one mile long, as well as a 70 feet tall observational tower.

Also available to visitors at Big Hill Pond are roughly thirty miles of hiking trails along with eight miles of horse back riding trails.

The premises holds 28 campsites, all of which are primitive, meaning they have no electricity or water.  All campers, including RV and tent campers are welcome and central restrooms and bathhouses are available.  

Also, there are four primitive Boy Scout camps at the park.

Big Hill Pond State Park is the home to the 165-acre Travis McNatt Lake.  There is a 20 fish limit at the lake, and all size boats are welcome, but only trolling motors are permitted. 

“[The Lake] is named after Travis McNatt.  He was one of the influential people who got this park started and got some of the land -owners to start selling their property to the state,” said Harrison.

“It’s got bass, catfish, bluegill, shell crackers.  It’s got otter and beaver.  It’s a beautiful lake.  It’s set right here in a very natural sight.  It’s probably one of the most beautiful lakes in the Tennessee State Parks.  If you get a chance you ought to come out here,” Harrison said.

There are also waterfowl, eagles, and osprey at the Travis McNatt Lake.

Big Hill Pond State Park hopes to begin offering more programs as soon as possible.

“Our staff is at the low point.  Once we get our staff back up to where it should be with all the cuts we may start trying to have a day camp with the kids again,” said Harrison.

Also at Big Hill Pond is a pavilion available to rent for any event. 

“You can rent the pavilion for $25 now, but it’s going to $45.  You can probably put 50-75 people in there.”

Harrison encourages visitors to come to the park and enjoy the scenery it has to offer.

“Fall of the year is a very pretty time here.  Anywhere from the twenty of October to the 15th of November is a wonderful time to come out.”

Big Hill Pond State Park is a unique place and is situated just off Highway 57.  After leaving Ramer, visitors can remain on Highway 57 until they see a sign telling them to turn left to Big Hill Pond State Park.

 “It’s a very unique area.  It’s a lot of wilderness, and it’s got some unusual features for West Tennessee.  So anytime, especially during the wintertime when it snows down here it’ll make you think you’re on the far side of the earth somewhere.  This is a great place,” Harrison said.

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