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Annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival Set for Feb. 1-3

Thursday, January 03, 2008 | 06:00pm

Nashville, Tenn. – The annual winter pilgrimage of the majestic American Bald Eagle will soon bring these fantastic creatures back to Northwest Tennessee from their summer homes in the upper Great Lakes and Canada. With wingspans of six to eight feet and weights up to 16 pounds, the American Bald Eagle has been returning to the open water, marshes and cypress-laden sloughs of Reelfoot Lake for generations.

This year’s Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival is set for Feb. 1-3 and will celebrate one of the largest wintering populations of bald eagles outside Alaska. The Eagle Festival offers a wide range of opportunities for Reelfoot Lake visitors to see these magnificent birds in the wild. Local park and wildlife experts will sponsor walking tours, bus tours, pontoon cruises, interpretive sessions and special photography displays throughout the weekend. Bald eagle and waterfowl tours and educational lectures will continue through March 2 at the park.

“The return of these American Bald Eagles to Reelfoot Lake has become one of the most exciting winter events in Tennessee,” Reelfoot Lake State Park Manager James Cox said. “The entire staff at Reelfoot Lake State Park looks forward to providing an opportunity for guests to see our national symbol in its natural habitat.”

The annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival is sponsored by the Reelfoot Lake Tourist Council, Reelfoot Lake State Park and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more information about activities and lodging during the Eagle Festival, call the Tourist Council at 1-888-313-8366.

Designated a national natural landmark, Reelfoot Lake was created by a series of violent New Madrid fault zone earthquakes in northwest Tennessee during the winter of 1811-1812. Reelfoot Lake State Park offers outstanding recreational activities, such as wildlife viewing, fishing, boating, hunting and hiking. The Airpark Inn is a favorite lodging location for eagle watchers and offers 20 rooms located over the lake and nestled among towering cypress trees.

The park is located in Lake and Obion counties near Tiptonville. The park’s 280 acres are divided into 10 segments along 22 miles of the Reelfoot Lake shoreline. The Airpark Inn is located on State Highway 78, approximately 10 miles north of Tiptonville. The park’s visitor and interpretive centers, auditorium and picnic and camping areas are located along State Highways 21 and 22.

For more information about Reelfoot Lake State Park or the Airpark Inn, please call the park office at (731) 253-8003 or visit www.tnstateparks.com/reelfootlake.

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