Governor Bill Haslam announced Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge will become a new Tennessee state park.
The governor made the announcement at the annual Legacy Parks Foundation Luncheon in Knox County, and the Seven Islands State Birding Park will be the 56th state park in Tennessee.
“Our state parks offer residents and visitors unique ways to get outside and experience Tennessee, and Seven Islands is a great addition to our parks system,” Governor Haslam said. “Seven Islands is a special place in Knox County and East Tennessee, sitting along the migratory path of many bird species, and I am pleased that it will become Tennessee’s first state birding park.”
Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is currently used as a wildlife sanctuary, an area for hiking and observation, an educational facility for schools and other groups, a demonstration area for land use and habitat management techniques and a small boat launch for canoes and kayaks. The property is adjacent to the French Broad River and aquatic and riparian habitats support an impressive diversity of wildlife species. Over 160 species of birds have been identified.
In addition, Governor Haslam also announced that the Legacy Parks Foundation will receive a $200,000 Recreation Trails Program grant for the construction of a 4.5-mile trail in Knoxville that will connect a middle school and outdoor classroom. The Knoxville Urban Wilderness Project will add the new multi-use trail, offering a one-mile beginner trail, three miles of intermediate trails and a half mile hiker-only trail. The trail head parking area will be adjacent to the Doyle Middle School property.
For more information, visit www.tnstateparks.com.