Governor Haslam Names Seven Islands As Tennessee’s Newest State Park

Recreation Trails Program Grant for Legacy Parks Also Announced

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, along with Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau, announced Friday that 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 a Knox County wildlife sanctuary that is currently managed by the Seven Islands Foundation and Knox County Parks and Recreation. The county will transfer the 360-acre property to the state over the coming months and Tennessee State Parks will begin managing the site in July. 

“I would like to thank the Legacy Parks Foundation, Seven Islands Foundation and the Knox County Parks and Recreation for conveying this great property to the state,” Commissioner Martineau said. “The distinct wildlife and many species of birds at this location will make Seven Islands one of our most unique state parks.”

The 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. 

“This addition to Tennessee State Parks is the result of a great partnership between TDEC, Knox County, the Legacy Parks Foundation and the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development” Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said. “This partnership allows us to develop watchable wildlife sites and trails, with Seven Islands being the flagship for a statewide birding tour.”

Tennessee State Parks will be working with the Legacy Parks Foundation to assess the needs of the park and implement a transition plan to take over in July 2014. Seven Islands will become Tennessee’s 56th state park. Both Seven Islands and Rocky Fork will open to the public as Tennessee State Parks in 2014. 

“This park will bring in birding enthusiasts from around the region,” Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Susan Whitaker said.” “Seven Islands State Birding Park is a great addition to our state parks system and the tourism industry.”

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.



Invasive Zebra Mussels Found In Cherokee Lake

An invasive species has made its way into Cherokee Lake threatening to disrupt the lake’s ecosystem and clog the lake with harmful and unsightly mussel colonies. Last month, an angler fishing near the TWRA boat ramp at Olen Marshall Bridge in Bean Station discovered what he believed to be zebra mussels.  He contacted the TWRA office and biologists were able to positively ... (click for more)

TWRA Highway 92 Access Area In Dandridge To Be Closed Again On Friday

The TWRA Highway 92 Access Area on Douglas Lake in Dandridge will be closed again this  Friday,  to help facilitate design work for the new bridge construction.    Construction crews will be removing barges and drilling equipment following the collection of lake-bottom core samples.     The closure will begin at 1 a.m. on Friday ... (click for more)

Investor Group Plans $31 Million Hotel In Chattanooga Bank Building

An investor group announced that it is planning the development of an upscale 150-room hotel in the historic Chattanooga Bank Building. MCA is comprised of 20 EB-5 investors as limited partners with Red Leaf Development, managed by David Roos, as the general partner. Long-time partner PHG is involved in the development of the hotel and will be responsible for its management ... (click for more)

Police Say Texts From Slain Minister Detailed Drug Deals

An investigator testified Thursday that a minister who was beaten to death during an apparent drug deal had texts on his phone dealing with similar exchanges of illegal drugs. The minister's wife said he had gone out that night as part of a church counseling program to women. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound charges of felony murder and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)