Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation is building an 18-hole disc golf course at the city’s Trail of Tears Park and adjacent Cherokee Park.
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tab Brockman said city officials used input from several organizations to adjust the course layout -- and obtained approvals from the National Park Service, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, the Kentucky Heritage Council in Frankfort and the Hopkinsville Trail of Tears Commission.
“The tribes asked that if we came across anything that looked like it could be of significance like artifacts or even human remains that we stop immediately and we said of course we would,” Brockman said.
Cherokee Nation Communications Director Julie Hubbard said the department is incorporating several recommendations, including placing native plants in the park and creating buffer zones at the historic gravesites of Cherokee Chiefs Fly Smith and Whitepath who died during the Trail of Tears march.
“We just hope that it does what the city intended for it and it draws more residents to the Trail of Tears Park so that more people can learn about the Cherokees and their forced removal,” Hubbard said.
The disc golf course will include historical signage on each tee box, sharing the Cherokee Nation’s forced march westward. The course will be closed during the annual Hopkinsville Pow Wow each September. City officials anticipate the new Trail of Tears course will host several one-day tournaments throughout the year that will attract regional and national players to Hopkinsville.