Carl Halfacre, longtime manager of Edgar Evins State Park, has announced his retirement.
He will be leaving next month. " My last day at work here at Edgar will be November 14 and my last official day with the state parks will be November 30. I have better than 40 years of service with the State of Tennessee and 36 of those years I have been here at Edgar Evins State Park. But I feel that the time is nigh for me to retire and hand it over to a newer person. It's really been an enjoyable career. DeKalb County is one of the best counties I ever worked in. The cooperation I have received has been unbelievable from the Chamber of Commerce to WJLE and all the other local media. You have always been very supportive and I really appreciate that. It has made my job a lot easier. I have a lot of friends around Smithville. I will be moving to Baxter but I'll keep in touch," said Halfacre in a recent interview with WJLE.
Even as a teenager, Halfacre said he had hopes of one day working at the park. "As a teenager I worked at the dam my Junior and Senior years with the Corps of Engineers as a seasonal worker. We would mow the "Ike Park" which is gone now because of the guys who are doing the drilling (dam rehabilitation project) and then we would mow at Cove Hollow. I would sit over there at Cove Hollow and look across the lake during lunch and see them working on the roads (Edgar Evins State Park). At that time they were just building the roads and the boat ramp (developing the park). I told some of the boys there that I would like to work in that park once they get it open and then lo and behold several years later I was able to do that," he said.
Halfacre, a native of Baxter, got his wish to work in the park shortly after graduating from Tennessee Tech University. "I graduated in December 1977 and started at Edgar January 21, 1978. I worked in maintenance until August of that year and then I was promoted to Park Ranger I. I worked in that position for about three years. At that time there were Park Rangers I and II. A Park Ranger II was considered to be a supervisor over the Ranger I's. The Ranger II at that time was Kenny Daniel. He got a promotion and went to Montgomery Bell State Park and after he left I was able to move up into the Park Ranger II position where I remained until 1996. Our Park Manager Murray Crow got a promotion and he left the park. I didn't have any idea I was going to be considered for the job but I interviewed and got the job. I've been here as Park Manager since 1996," said Halfacre.
Halfacre said he was pleased to see some of goals for the park become a reality during his years as manager. "I had two or three goals in mind when I became Park Manager. One of those was to get a scout troop involved with the park that would do volunteer work for us. We've been able to realize that. Ranger Wayne Morrison got the Boy Scouts and the Tennessee Trails Association interested in the park and those two things led into the Friends of Edgar Evins being formed and also Boy Scout Troop 875 that is chartered by the Friends group, they come in and camp with us and they do work. They've done upwards of a thousand hours of volunteer work here in the park each year for the last three years. I feel very fortunate I've been able to reach some of my goals," he said.
Halfacre said he is looking forward to retirement. "I have 30 acres at Baxter that have just about reverted to jungle. I've got to clean that up. I've got to get it fenced and hopefully get some cattle in there in the next couple of years. I've got to do a little bit of work on the house. I've got two antique tractors and a couple of old cars setting around and I hope to be able to get those running. I've got plenty to do if I just get up and get with it," Halfacre concluded.