Long Hunter State Park has many assets that make the park valuable to many across Middle Tennessee. The deer, the lakes, the forests and the hiking trails all provide a wonderful and unique experience for the park’s visitors.
Soon, the park will be home to a group of critters that will “sweeten” the environment of the park. By the middle of this spring, Long Hunter is going to be home to two new honeybee hives. Long Hunter Park Ranger Jeremy Blackwell will be the park’s official beekeeper.
Blackwell has seven honeybee hives of his own and has been raising bees for the past seven years. He knows how important the honeybee is and is optimistic that the benefits to the park will be great.
Blackwell explained that we’ll “see more trees and native fruits and flowers after about a year or so” after the bees arrive. He said that with the increased flora in the park there will not only be more opportunities for wildflower enthusiasts but also the increased vegetation will give the local wildlife more to eat.
There will be ranger-led park programs at the park that focus solely on the hives.
“I hope to do programs based around how the honeybee helps bring us our food, helps gardeners and go over the biology of the honeybee” Blackwell said. If the hives do really well, the ranger envisions having volunteer days that involve building boxes for new hives or harvesting honey.
The honeybees will take a community effort to keep running smoothly. Donation programs, such as the “Adopt a Bee” program, will go toward new equipment for beekeeping and for annual preventative treatments for small hive beetles and tracheal mites (yes, even bees get parasites.)
The whole park is simply “buzzing” over the arrival of the two new hives.
To donate to the Long Hunter beehives go to the park’s website. Check out the “Upcoming Events” page to get to the donation site dedicated the Long Hunter hives. Visit the park at 2910 Hobson Pike in Hermitage. The park is open from 7 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year.
Molly Stophel is the front desk clerk for Long Hunter State Park. She grew up walking the Couchville Lake Trail and still considers it her favorite part of the park.