Dr. Wally Bigbee has been presented the prestigious Jim Prince Memorial Award by Friends of South Cumberland.
Bigbee received the organization’s highest recognition due to his dedication and determination in outdoor conservation. The Jim Prince Award is given to a person who most exemplifies leadership in outdoor conservation for the region encompassed by the South Cumberland State Recreation Area. Given annually, the award is named in memory of Jim Prince, a founder of Friends of South Cumberland.
Bigbee, an avid lover of the outdoors since childhood, was on the planning board for establishing the Barren Fork Greenway. He currently serves as chairman of Friends of the Greenway, an organization that works to establish outdoor recreational activities while preserving nature. Members are currently working with city officials to establish River Trail East, a walking trail to connect Sally’s Alley to Ramsey Park and Rocket Park along the Barren Fork River.
Bigbee served 12 years on the Tennessee Conservation Commission and three years on the Commissioners Council on Greenways and Trails. He has helped build trails on three sections of the Cumberland Trail and has helped in maintaining trails in the South Cumberland Recreational Area, Rock Island State Park, and on Cardwell Mountain.
Along with being a longtime member of Tennessee Trails Association and serving as the trail work coordinator at Short Springs Natural Area, Bigbee was a charter member of Savage Gulf Preservation League and served as its president for many years. The league was active in getting the Savage Gulf area into State Park protection and funding the development of the parking lot at Greeter Falls.
Ty Burnette, past president of Friends of South Cumberland, was also given the Jim Prince Memorial Award. He is going to be the guest speaker at McMinnville’s Breakfast Rotary Club on July 28 at 7 a.m. at First Methodist Church.
Bigbee and Burnette were presented their awards during the Friends of South Cumberland State Recreation Area annual meeting and picnic.
The mission of the Friends of South Cumberland State Recreation Area is to support the park, preserve and protect it, and to serve as a mechanism to reach out to individuals to become involved.
For more information on the organization dedicated to preserving the largest state wilderness park in Tennessee, log onto www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org.