Bays Mountain Park Membership Fees Set To Increase

After holding steady for over a quarter century, Park membership fees are set to increase effective January 1, 2019. After much consideration at its August meeting, the Bays Mountain Park Association Board voted to approve the first increase in membership fees since June 1992. While each membership level awards free park entry and a 50% discount on zip line rides (seasonal), the new fees and benefits structure are as follows:

  • Individual – $30.00 Receive up to two passes per public program (planetarium, nature, and barge ride). All tickets subject to availability and weather permitting (for nature, barge ride, and zip line).
  • Family – $50.00 Receive up to six passes per public program. All tickets subject to availability and weather permitting (for nature, barge ride, and zip line).
  • Supporting – $100.00 Receive same benefits as Family level, plus the option to adopt one of our resident animals. If adopting, you’ll receive a certificate of adoption, plus a bio and picture of your chosen animal. All tickets subject to availability and weather permitting (for nature, barge ride, and zip line).
  • Life – $1,000.00 Receive all of the above benefits plus one private summer barge ride. Barge must be reserved in advance and must take place at 6:00 p.m. June through August. All tickets subject to availability and weather permitting (for nature, barge ride, and zip line).

Although it has been 26 years since the last membership fee increase, the decision to raise these prices was not easy. Recently, meeting the commitments and goals of the Bays Mountain Park Association has become increasingly challenging. Those goals include supporting the Park financially in maintaining and operating the Nature Center and programs, including summer day camp. The Association employs two part-time staff to assist in Nature Center operations, and up to eight seasonal employees. The increased fees will help ensure each of these commitments and goals can still be met.

Known as one of the best bargains in Kingsport, it is hoped the new fees will be viewed in the same way. For many, the cost of a Family membership can be met in just two visits when taking advantage of the offered benefits. The support of Park members is even more vital today with many updates still ahead for the Park. The Bays Mountain Park Association Board and Park staff appreciate the community’s support and hope we can continue to enjoy your friendship and support for years to come.

For more information on Bays Mountain, please visit or call 423-229-9447.

Neighborhood Commission Launches Toolbox to Celebrate Good Neighbor Week

The couple next door, the family up the street, the kids that wave to you as you drive by their yard—these are all your neighbors. Being someone’s neighbor isn’t always about proximity, and being a good neighbor means more than just living next door to someone.

The Kingsport Neighborhood Commission is launching an online Neighborhood Toolbox to commemorate Kingsport’s first official Good Neighbor Week.

Every year on September 28, there is a little-known national holiday to recognize the importance of fostering respect and compassion for our neighbors. In an age where it’s easy to feel disconnected from one another, National Good Neighbor Day commemorates those neighborly relationships that are so important to building a thriving community.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter officially declared Good Neighbor Day a national holiday.

“The noblest human concern is concern for others,” the proclamation reads. “Understanding, love, and respect build cohesive families and communities. … For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family.”

The Kingsport Neighborhood Commission formed at the end of last year. This twelve-person volunteer commission serves to strengthen Kingsport’s neighborhoods by providing a communication channel between neighborhoods and the city, as well as providing guidance on neighborhood solutions.

The Neighborhood Commission also hopes to help you and your neighbors in more direct ways. That’s why, as part of Good Neighbor Week here in Kingsport, the commission is launching a Neighborhood Toolbox.

This online Neighborhood Toolbox provides you with all kinds of resources in a user-friendly, easy-to-read format. You’ll learn how to pay bills online, how to protect your family in an emergency, how to form a neighborhood association, and much more! To find the Neighborhood Toolbox, navigate to and click the Toolbox icon.

Throughout the last week of September, the Neighborhood Commission is celebrating Good Neighbor Week on Facebook! Check out the commission’s page for tips about how to be a good neighbor all year long.

Series Of Talks, Workshops Scheduled For Sculpture Walk XI

Sculpture Walk XI takes on a new form with sculpture talks and hands on sculpture workshops. Rolling out as a series, the sculptures for Sculpture Walk XI will be installed separately over several months. The first of which will be installed on September 28, followed by a sculpture talk and workshop.

The artist for the first two sculptures of the walk is Mike Roig. Mike’s pieces are often kinetic – moving effortlessly with the wind, providing great interest. They are expertly wrought in stainless, industrial steel and other durable materials. Mike will install two pieces on Friday, September 28. ‘Moondance’ will be installed at the Ridgefields Circle, and ‘Aerial’ will be installed in Downtown Kingsport. Mike lives and works in Carrboro, NC where he and his wife, author-artist Clay Carmichael, maintain the Heartworks Studio.

“I’ve been making art since I was small, it’s what I came in hard-wired to do,” said Mike. “Working with steel satisfies me in a way that no other medium has. It is tough and durable, yet malleable and open to infinite suggestion. It is heavy and obdurate, and yet can be made to express delicate movements of balance and grace. It can appear earthen and solid, or be polished to light-refracting brilliance.”

On Friday, September 28 the Office of Cultural Arts and the Friends of the Kingsport Public Library invite the public to a reception and talk with artist Mike Roig. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the talk will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Kingsport Public Library – after 5:30, please enter from the Shelby Street parking lot.

In addition to the presentation on Friday, a hands-on workshop will be held on Saturday, September 29 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Inventor Center, 118 Shelby Street.  Participants will have the opportunity to share artistic ideas as well as see the different stages of an in-progress sculpture Mike is working on. Mike will then demonstrate his welding techniques and coach participants in a practice session. Participants must be 18-years-old to participate, and the cost to participate is $50 per person. The workshop is limited to 5 participants.

The next sculpture installments will be in October and November. The October installation will feature artist Charlie Brouwer, with the sculpture installation and talk on Friday, October 12 and the workshop on Saturday, October 13. The November artist is Val Lyle, who will install her sculpture and give a talk on Friday, November 16, followed by a workshop on Saturday, November 17.

To register for the workshop or for or more information, please visit, or call 423-392-8414. For more information on Mike Roig, visit

Artists, Arts Organizations, Creatives are Encouraged to Attend Keynote Speech of Tennessee Planners Association

Do towns and cities have personalities? If so, how do we describe them? Can our cities and towns – through their planning and design – be places that reflect the rich diversity of people who live in them? Tom Borrup, author of Creative Community Builders Handbook, will discuss these questions and more in his keynote speech for the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planners Association on September 27 at Meadowview Convention Center.

Tom Borrup, Ph.D. is the founder of Creative Community Builders. He consults with cities, foundations and nonprofits integrating arts, economic development, urban planning, civic engagement and animation of public space. His 2006 book, The Creative Community Builders Handbook, remains the leading text in the field. As Executive Director of Minneapolis’ Intermedia Arts from 1980 – 2002, Tom helped transform a diverse urban neighborhood while building a nationally recognized multidisciplinary, cross-cultural organization. Tom serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Minnesota’s Masters in Arts and Cultural Leadership. He earned his Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

One of the most fertile partnerships in the reinvigoration of cities and towns over the past two or three decades has been between cities and their arts and cultural sectors. Can partnerships that leverage creativity, cultural amenities and walkable community design bring more cultural and economic inclusiveness? Can these partnerships contribute to healthy personalities of places?

If broken or dysfunctional, can the personalities of our communities be repaired? Who can do that? And, how do the personalities of planners, architects, developers and designers impact the landscapes of our towns and cities?

These are weighty questions for planners and city leaders to ponder. Tom Borrup, in his keynote presentation, will examine these phenomena and identify some of the ways that culture and creativity – and the people and institutions in that sector – have moved communities towards greater inclusiveness and healthier personalities. Based on Winston Churchill’s assertion that: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”, Borrup uses a multitude of images collected from cities around the world, scholarly writing and decades of his experience in animating communities with the help of artists.

The presentation will begin at 8 a.m. at the Meadowview Convention Center and is free and open to the public. There will be a follow-up session for artists/art-culture organizations from 9:30 – 11 a.m. in the Appalachian Board Room. Borrup’s book, Creative Community Builders Handbook, will also available at a discounted price. Although the event is free, registration is encouraged.

Borrup’s presentation is sponsored by Engage Kingsport and through a grant with the Tennessee Arts Commission’ Arts Builds Community Program administered by the First Tennessee Development District and through the generosity of Shelburne Ferguson Law Office and Nate Kiser at Chrysolite Management Group.

For more information, please visit, or call 423-392-8414.

Unveiling of Charles Vess Artwork

Join the Friends of the Kingsport Library on Monday, September 24th at 6:30 p.m. for the unveiling of artwork by award winning artist Charles Vess at the Kingsport Public Library.

Vess has created two pieces of artwork for the Children’s section of the Kingsport Public Library. Attendees can meet Charles Vess, hear him share the creative process behind his international award-winning artwork, specifically about the two pieces he has created for the Kingsport Public Library’s Children’s Section, and be there for the unveiling of the work.

“We are pleased that Kingsport Public Library will be home to such special pieces of original art,” said Chris Markley, library manager.

Vess began creating comic books as a child and refined this gift as he earned a fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He taught at Parsons School of Design while establishing himself as an illustrator with Marvel Comics and National Lampoon among other publications. He has written and illustrated several books and received a number of prestigious awards for his artwork including the Eisner Award (three times) and the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist (twice!). He has collaborated with authors such as Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. LeGuin. Saga Press is releasing the 50th anniversary edition of Le Guin’s timeless Earthsea series in October, which contains over 50 Vess illustrations.

Vess will also have a limited number of books containing his illustrations available for purchase.

Visit or call the library at 423-229-9489 for more details.

Dobyns-Bennett String Quartets To Perform Free Concert At Bays Mountain Park

Enjoy the natural beauty of Bays Mountain Park from the Pavilion at Lily Pad Cove while listening to music played by the Dobyns-Bennett String Quartets. Members of the Dobyns-Bennett Orchestra make up the two Dobyns-Bennett String Quartets who will be performing in the pavilion on Saturday, September 22, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The first performance will be from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. and the second performance from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Park guests will be able to hike around the habitats or take a peek at the Pavilion while enjoying the music from the quartets. If you have been wanting to check out the new Pavilion at Lilly Pad Cove or are interested in renting the pavilion, this is the perfect opportunity.

The concert is free and open to the public. There will be limited seating at the pavilion and it is first come, first-served. Although the concert is free, the entry fee to the park is $5 per vehicle.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park please call 423-229-9447 or visit

Pink Ribbon Tennis Tournament

Join us for a fun weekend of tennis and help support the women and men fighting breast cancer in the Tri-Cities on October 5-7.

Hosted by Susan G. Komen East TN Tri-Cities and Kingsport Park and Recreation, individuals ages 14 and up are invited to register. The proceeds from this tennis tournament will benefit Komen East TN.

Registration is open now until September 28 online at The cost is $25 per player. Players can register in one of these divisions offered:

  1. Men’s & Women’s Singles – 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and Open
  2. Men’s and Women’s Double – 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, and Open
  1. Mixed Doubles – 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, and Open

“Kingsport Parks and Recreation are proud to be hosting this event along with Susan G. Komen of East TN,” said Renee Ensor, parks and recreation program administrator. “This event will help promote wellness and awareness in the Tri-Cities. Players will enjoy playing on our new resurfaced courts at Borden Park and playing for a good cause were all of the proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen.”

For more information, please visit

Volunteer for National Public Lands Day at Bays Mountain Park

On Saturday, September 22, volunteers at Bays Mountain will join hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans at public land sites across the country to give back to the lands where we play, learn, exercise and relax in celebration of the 25th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) – the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands.

NPLD, coordinated each year by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) with support from national sponsor Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., brings together volunteers from across the country to improve and restore the lands and facilities that Americans use and enjoy every day. Each year, NPLD volunteers provide tens of millions of dollars’ worth of services in one day that would otherwise take limited park staff months to accomplish. Last year, more than 200,000 people participated in events at more than 2,500 sites in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

Bays Mountain Park will be hosting a National Public Lands Workday on Saturday, September 22, from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Volunteers will meet in front of the Farmstead Museum at 8:30 a.m., and will spend a few hours with a park naturalist and other park trail volunteers helping maintain a few trails. The project will focus on hiking roughly four miles around Lake Road Trail removing branches and overgrowth along with picking up trash.

“Your work will help ensure that Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium continues to be a beautiful place for all to enjoy,” said Megan Krager senior naturalist at Bays Mountain Park.

Volunteers are highly encouraged to wear closed toed shoes. Water bottles, hats, work gloves and bug repellent are highly recommended. This is a great program for students needing volunteer hours for school or scholarships. No experience is required. Pre-registration is required by calling the Nature Center at 423-229-9447. This is a free program.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park please call 423-229-9447 or visit

Adventure into the new world of resin and alcohol ink with Elena Corradino

Students will learn about resin and create their own unique, hand-crafted gifts! The Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts is offering two opportunities to participate in the resin workshop on September 15th and/or October 27th.

Instructor, Elena Corradino will be teaching a hands-on class about how to create this exciting style of abstract art. Participants will make two acrylic pour bisque coasters, four porcelain alcohol ink coasters and three silicone mold coasters, all of which will be resined. Participants will also be allowed to keep their respiratory mask and silicone mold. The instructor will go over safe mixing techniques and mistakes that can cost resin – all while creating 9 beautiful and functional pieces of art!

The cost of the class is $98 per person and includes all materials. The class will be held on the 2nd level studio space at the Kingsport Carousel, 350 Clinchfield St. Both classes will be from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., with a 30 minute break for lunch, allowing for 4 hours of instruction/creative time.

Pre-registration is required to participate. To register for the class or for more information, please visit or call 423-392-8414.

Find Your Adventure With Fall Activities At Bays Mountain Park

Fall is here and that means guided hikes, twilight zip line rides, geocaching, map and compass classes, twilight barge rides and canoe/kayak tours at Bays Mountain Park! Starting this month, guests can enjoy a range of activities at the park.

Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors! Enjoy the cooler weather and the beautiful colors of fall with a guided hike to points of interest within the park. The guided day hikes will begin at 10 a.m. and will go to the fire tower and along the lake side. These hikes are limited to 15 participants. Tickets are $3/person and free for park members.

Visitors can also experience the thrill of a twilight zip line ride on The Flying Squirrel. With only a headlamp and the soft glow of lights strung along the platform, you can let your imagination run wild while you soar through the twilight on this unique, fall adventure. Soar through the forest canopy, listen to nocturnal critters and view the night sky while on the zip line. The cost is $25/person for non-members and $15/person for park members. Program times are 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Participants can zip the whole three hours. A waiver form is required to be filled out by all participants. Visit to download a waiver form.

Learn what geocaching is and how you do it with the two part geocaching class. In session 1, participants will learn what geocaching is, terminology used and other interesting aspects of the geocaching world. In session 2, participants will learn to use a GPS device in order to find hidden “caches.” During this session, the group will have the opportunity to use their mobile device to find a variety of “caches” in the park. The cost is $3/person per session. Both sessions will take place from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the Discovery Theater.

A map is a crucial tool for accurate navigation, especially where trail signs, blazes and markers are absent. In the first session of the Map and Compass class, participants will learn how to find their way with just a compass, how to orient a map with a compass and how to back track. The second session will focus on two parts, how to navigate using specific coordinates and how to take specific coordinates and pair it with a map to find hidden flags in a specific area. The cost for each program is $3/person per session and free for park members. Space is limited to 20 guests. The program will take place in the Discovery Theater from 6 p.m.  – 8 p.m. for both sessions.

Specialty programs including the twilight barge ride and the canoe/kayak tour are back this fall. Spend a relaxing evening on the lake enjoying the beautiful lakeside scenery from the comfort of the barge or your personal canoe or kayak. The twilight barge rides are $5/person and free for park members. The canoe/kayak tour is $10/person and free for park members. The canoe/kayak tour is limited to 20 watercrafts, and participants must provide their own canoe/kayak and a coast guard approved personal flotation device. Twilight barge rides start at 7 p.m. and canoe/kayak tours start at 6 p.m.

The dates for these activities are as follows:

  • Guided Hikes – September 12 (Lakeside) and October 10 (Fire tower)
  • Twilight Zip Line – September 29 and October 27
  • Geocaching – Session 1: October 9 and Session 2:October 16
  • Map and Compass – Session 1: September 13 and Session 2: September 27
  • Twilight Barge Rides – September 26 and October 24
  • Canoe/Kayak Tour  –  September 19 & 25 and October 17 & 23

To reserve a spot for the twilight zip line ride, geocaching class, map and compass class, canoe/kayak tour or twilight barge rides, please call the Nature Center at 423-229-9447. To reserve your spot for a guided hike, please visit the Nature Center on the day of the scheduled hike to purchase a ticket.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park please call 423-229-9447 or visit