Safety Reminders

Well Being Conference Center

Well Being Conference Center is located within a very rural corner of Northeast Tennessee. The property itself is wooded and steep in many areas. Nature is fully present. During your stay here, as you explore the property, please be aware of, and responsible for, your own safety. The following is an incomplete list of potential hazards to be aware of:

Food and Animals: Do not leave any kind of food outside especially after dark. Raccoons, O’possums, and other animals will certainly find it and make a mess. For the same reason, do not leave windows or doors open unless there is a screen in place. Also, please do not feed any wild animals so that we don’t turn wild animals into pests. Allow them their wildness. A raccoon may look cute, but can be quite vicious, especially if cornered. Feeding birds with birdfeeders is the exception. I know this isn’t a consistent policy – it’s just that raccoons seem to do just fine on their own while little Goldfinches may need a little help on a 15 degree day.

Narrow, Graveled Roads: All of the roads on the property are essentially one lane gravel roads. Some have almost no shoulder and a steep embankment along one side of the road. There are no guard rails.  Keep you car on the roadway. Do not pull off on a shoulder. If you meet another car, back up to a clear pull off point. Sometimes you might need to back up ¼ mile. It’s the polite thing to do. Go slow and pay attention. Be on the look-out for rocks that may have fallen on the road or a section of high center that might damage the undercarriage of your car, especially if you have a low clearance model.

Steep Roads: Some sections of roadways on the property are relatively steep, narrow and graveled. Four wheel drive vehicles are recommended on the steeper roadway sections. Please do not drive vehicles off-road. Go slow, and be especially observant on corners and intersections.

Roadside Ditches: Most of the roads have a drainage ditch along the uphill side of the road. At times the ditch my be filled with leaves and may not be visible. Be careful when walking or driving.

Steep, Slippery and Un-Even Ground: Because this is a naturally steep and heavily vegetated site, please be aware that the ground is bound to be uneven, steep and/or slippery in places. We recommend hiking boots rather than tennis shoes for hiking in areas off the graveled roads and maintained pathways. Some areas of the property have nearly vertical cliffs with dropoffs of 100 feet or more. Note that wet leaves or leaves on wet dirt can be especially slippery. We ask that you stay on relatively even ground and exercise extreme caution if you decide to explore “the road less traveled.”

Construction Sites and Equipment: Some part of Well Being Conference Center is almost always in some degree of construction. On 158 acres, this still leaves a lot of room for peace and serenity. However, if you approach a construction site, be especially aware of your surroundings. If equipment is operating, the operator is not expecting you to be approaching. Make sure the operator sees you before you enter the zone in which the equipment is working. Consider the potential swing of an excavator boom for example. Do not enter that zone until and unless you are seen and acknowledged.  Be aware of ditches and uneven ground. Do not attempt to get on or operate any of the machinery or tools or climb on any stored construction material. Do not enter an area of construction without permission.

River: The Powell River is a beautiful place to swim in or paddle on. Many sections are calm, but there is fast water and rapids around a portion of the property. When paddling, keep the boat pointed downstream – do not get sideways in fast water. Watch for rocks in shallow sections of the river. You won’t hurt the boats, but rocks can flip over the boat if you hit it crossways to the current. It’s important to wear river shoes or a pair of old sneakers if you try to walk in the fast shallow water or if you go paddling. The river rocks are slippery – you can easily stub toes or worse without good footwear. Do not try to swim in the shallow fast water – you could hit your head or other body part on a rock – the river flow can be powerful.

Fencing: There are some remnant sections of barbed wire on the property. Don’t try to cross it unless you absolutely have to. If you have to cross it, move very slowly. Any one barb will hook your clothing or worse. There may be some remnant fencing along portions of the riverbank. There is electric fencing inside the garden perimeter fence. Do NOT try to see what it feels like or presume that it is not on. You may know what 120 household volts feel like. You cannot imagine what 8,000 volts feel like.  f you are a small child or someone with a bad heart or other condition, this shock can be lethal. Just pay any electric fence its due respects, give it room, and move on.

Poisonous Things and other Nasties

There is not much poison ivy around, but there is some. If you don’t know what it looks like, it would be best to stay on roads, paths, or in the mowed fields. There are both copperhead snakes and timber rattlesnakes in the area. In three years here, the full-time on-site managers of Well Being Foundation have not seen either snake but copperhead snakes have been spotted twice by other people on the property. Avoid climbing around rocky ledges in warmer weather; be aware of your surroundings and where you put your hands and feet; wear boots when hiking. Of course there are lots of varieties of bees and wasps, so if you are allergic, be sure to bring and carry benedryl with you or other medicine as recommended by your physician. There are ticks here in the warmer weather. The ones we’ve seen are Dog Ticks, not Deer Ticks. Deer Ticks are reported to be the primary carrier for the Lymes spirochete. Dog Ticks are larger – about ¼ inch – much easier to see, and reportedly less likely to bite a person. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea, if you’ve been walking in taller grass or sitting/lying on the ground during the day to check yourself when you get back to your cabin.  This area, Claiborne County and surrounding counties, are listed as “Low Risk” for Lymes. The on-site Manager for Well Being Foundation saw two ticks in 2012.

Snapping Turtles

There are snapping turtles in the Powell River. They have a rather long neck and look like they are too big for their shell. Their shell is not smooth, but rather has pyramid shaped lumps on it. In the water they swim very well and feel safe and will make every effort to avoid you. On land it’s a different story. Do not try to pick up a snapping turtle on land. In three years on the property, the on-site manager has never seen a snapping turtle on land, but they do come on shore to lay their eggs and perhaps for other reasons.

Walking under Trees on Very Windy Days

If it’s very windy out (rare) branches can fall. A big branch from a high tree can be dangerous. Be aware of your surroundings.

Safety Summary

Well Being Conference Center is located out in real Nature. Nature is to be enjoyed and to be respected. The best advice is to be aware of your surroundings and act prudently.