Norris Dam State Park
Sara L. Foust
Norris Dam State Park is one of the beautiful state parks I live near. We are blessed to have many here in East Tennessee, and several of them are mentioned or visited in my writings. My heroine, Kat, visits Norris Dam while searching for clues on her treasure hunt in my debut novel Callum’s Compass.
This park means a lot to me. I grew up right over the hill from it, and it was our go-to spot for bike riding, football playing, and picnics. There is a lovely trail at the base of the dam where you can walk (or run, if you’re so inclined) surrounded by fields of wildflowers, tall trees, and a variety of songbirds, which is why its name, Songbird Trail, is so appropriate. The river flows along the southern side and it’s common to see fishermen, blue herons, geese and ducks, and trout flashing in the crystal-clear water. In the fields most nights you can find white-tailed deer grazing, skunks digging for bugs, barred owls perched in trees, and, if you’re lucky, a red fox or coyote marching through.
Norris Dam was built in the 1930s, providing jobs at a time when they were scarce. The town of Norris was erected to house the workers and their families, and is now one of the most tranquil, aesthetic places in our area with an old-fashioned, family-owned grocery store and butcher, a small post office, and a town square that hosts events and a wonderful yearly fireworks display and 4th of July Festival. Once the dam was completed, Norris Lake took shape behind the dam. Many families were asked, and some forced, to relocate to avoid the flooding that took place upon completion. It’s still a story that both blesses and haunts our area. However, I doubt anyone today could discount the fact that Norris Lake is a gorgeous part of our culture. And, the dam’s massive turbines provide hydraulic-powered energy for a great portion of the valley.
With history, hiking trails, a walking path, horse riding trails, wildlife, water play, and camping, Norris Dam State Park is an amazing place. And it’s right in my back yard.
My husband and I were even married in this quiet, peaceful place. We still visit the park, but not as frequently as I’d like, though we do spend a big chunk of our summer playing on the lake (which Kat and Ryan also visit a couple times in the book). It was so much fun featuring places that are not only real-life but also mean so much to me. I hope I have portrayed Norris Dam State Park as a place readers would love to visit. If you want to know what Kat finds (or doesn’t find—wink, wink) at the park, I hope you’ll read Callum’s Compass!
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Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. Her debut novel Callum’s Compass won second place in Deep River Books’ 2017 Writer’s Contest. She also has a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. To learn more about her, please visit www.saralfoust.com.
KAT WILLIAMS’S brother died in a gruesome accident in the mountains of East Tennessee. She blames herself.
RYAN JENKINS’S fiancée was murdered. He couldn’t protect her.
With the death of her brother, Kat believes she is unworthy of love from anyone—even God. When a good friend elicits a promise that she will stop living in the past and then leaves her clues to a real-life treasure hunt, Kat embarks on an adventure chock-full of danger. To find the treasure, Kat will have to survive wild animals—and even wilder men. Can she rely on Ryan, the handsome wildlife officer assigned to protect her . . . without falling in love?
Ryan swore off love when his fiancée was murdered, but feelings long-buried rise to the surface around Kat. He volunteers to help with her treasure hunt, vowing to keep her safe. Together they venture deep into caves and tunnels . . . and even deeper into the depths of their unplumbed hearts.