Tennessee Campground Marks 40th Year
Camping is a popular pastime in northern middle Tennessee and the Land Between the Lakes region. And, as part of the outdoor recreation scene, it’s also a retail revenue engine for the area.
Four decades ago, Don Clark saw a chance to create one of the area’s more popular campsites, with Interstate 24 moving in near property that had been in his family since 1940, according to the Clarksville (Tenn.) Leaf Chronicle.
Spring Creek Campground is now 40 years old and is keeping a love for the great outdoors alive for hundreds of people.
As a centerpiece of the scenery, the little Spring Creek – namesake of the campground and a popular wading place for children – winds through the property with its 40 campsites.
Clark is talking expansion by another six acres, over time.
I-24 Led to Campground Creation
In 1966, Clark, his wife, Ann, and friends Jimmy and Betsy Slate trekked westward on a camping excursion – their first-ever, and that’s where the idea for Spring Creek Campground was born.
“We absolutely had a ball on that camping trip,” Don Clark said.
“At the time, I had a tobacco crop growing out here, and (the state) announced they were going to be bringing I-24 through this area of the county.
“I said, ‘We need to put a campground in here.'”
Spring Creek opened in 1968. “There were actually several years that we were here, that we were high and dry because there were so many delays in the construction of the new interstate.
“But once they brought it through, we started to see the benefits from it,” Clark said.
Over time, Spring Creek began to host campers from every state in the U.S., plus foreign nations such as France and Germany.
Their campsite, run on a daily basis by a full-time employee, features such additional amenities as a bathhouse with shower and laundry room, and limited travel trailer and camper storage.
A centerpiece of the property is an old tobacco barn that Clark has creatively converted into a covered pavilion.
“This barn was getting old. The other alternative was to tear it down and burn it up, and I just didn’t want to do that,” he said.
“We are losing so many of our old tobacco barns in this area, and they are part of our history. So I decided to try to preserve this one.”
He put in a concrete pad, added picnic tables and has plans for a small stage where bluegrass music or Sunday church services can be held for campers.
“We’ll have electric and water hook-ups over here before it’s over,” he said.