Courier Sports Writer
Most Cannon County High School students are usually busy with homework, a job, or participating in extracurricular activities on campus. One of those activities, includes enjoying the outdoors and what it has to offer thanks to the Outdoor Club led by a coach who is also well-known for taking cross country teams to the state meet at CCHS.
Besides his love of coaching a winning program on the course, Marc Larson, also enjoys taking students to different recreational areas as part of the Outdoor Club at CCHS.
"Outdoor experiences are a great avenue for students to relieve everyday pressures in a positive way and experience beautiful trails, lakes and streams," Larson said via email last week.
Larson started it six years ago after he was exposed to one at The University of the South at Sewanee and some outdoor clubs at private high schools here in the Volunteer, including McCallie and Baylor.
"The mission of our Outdoor Club is to expose Cannon County High students to state and national parks and recreational areas in middle Tennessee through hikes and paddling trips," he added.
During the short existence of the CCHS outdoor club, they have visited a lot of cool places. Some of their favorites, include the South Cumberland Recreation Area (Savage Gulf, Fierry Gizzard and Stone Door), Virgin Falls Recreation Area, Snow Laurel Pocket Wilderness Area, Spring Creek Gorge and Rock Island.
The goal of these trips is two-fold for the club members. First, they get to hang out and spend time with each other doing something fun, but more importantly they learn the importance of taking care of these special places and what it does to help the environment.
"Generally these trips are all day," Larson said. "When you have the opportunity to spend this amount of time with students in these beautiful places it is easy to show them how to respect and help improve these areas."
Besides the group having fun at these unique landmarks, Larson also has them work on community projects to help improve and give back to the areas. For example, last weekend, the CCHS Outdoor Club helped the Stones River Watershed Association during their annual "Boat Day," and they also recently helped build the Stones River Put-In at the Art Center. The club also fixed up the trails at Edgar Evans State Park.
Larson added, it only takes the club members only one trip and they want to do more within the Outdoor Club.
"Most of these kids have never seen some of these areas, and they had no idea how beautiful and fun they are to visit," he said.
Besides the already mentioned trips, the CCHS Outdoor Club has big plans starting with new school year coming up next month, especially with the newcomers entering the high school soon. Each of the trips are mentioned on campus and any student can sign up to participate in them. Some of the favorites include kayak and canoe trips, which Larson works with the TWRA, Stones River Watershed Association, and MTSU Outdoor Center to supply boats and equipment at a discount to help reduce the cost of the trips.