By JIM WOGAN6 Sports Director
WARTBURG, Tenn. (WATE) - Grade school students in Morgan County have gotten a new view of their backyard-- thanks to a program run by the National Park Service.
"We call it our National Park in Your Backyard Program," said NPS head ranger Matt Hudson.
"The idea is that a lot of kids in this county, much less Knoxville or East Tennessee don't know that there is a national park right here."
In fact, the park is a magnet for serious rock climbers from all over the world.
A special grant helped fund the purchase of the equipment.
After some instruction on how ropes and pulleys work, the children took to the rock wall formations -- some of them scampering 30-feet above rangers who supervised and offered advice.
"We want to teach them that it's here, first of all, and second of all help them be good stewards of it and learn to appreciate it so they will help us take care of it in the future," said Hudson.
"We envision 20 years from now there will be an entire generation here that will know and love the park, hopefully."
The program isn't just for youngsters.
Adults are invited to attend similar climbing sessions held on the first Saturday of every month, rain or shine. Those interested are asked to meet at Lily Bridge at 11 A.M.
No reservations are needed.
The Obed Wild and Scenic River System is located about 35 miles northwest of Knoxville.
For more information you can contact the National Park Service office in Wartburg at 423-346-6294 or visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/obed/index.htm.