Significant for both its natural and historic aspects, Long Hunter State Park is a popular spot on J. Percy Priest Lake for picnicking, swimming, hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, nature photography and wildlife observation. Several hiking trails at Long Hunter provide pleasant walking experiences, including the popular two-mile Lake Trail around Couchville Lake. It is also home to the Jason Allen Arboretum Trail that weaves its way through the first certified arboretum in a Tennessee State Park.
Thousands of years before the arrival of white settlers, this area, called the Middle Hunting Ground, was contested by Cherokee, Creek and Shawnee Indians. In the 1760s, just after the French and Indian War, English, French, Irish and German pioneers were the first Europeans to settle the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains. Daniel Boone of Kentucky was the most famous of these “long hunters,” who came here on yearlong expeditions to hunt and trade with the Cherokee. As many as 30 men would operate out of fortified stations. Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellars Farm units are named for distinct farming communities, most now inundated by the reservoir formed when Stones River was impounded to create J. Percy Priest Lake. Hikers in the park can still see the stone remains of those early homesteads. Sellars Farm is of particular interest to historians, as it contains remnants of a Native American community from prehistoric time, abandoned by the time white settlers arrived.
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