Governor Bill Haslam Dedicates Tennessee’s 54th State Park At Cummins Falls

Event Coincides with Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau Tuesday joined members of the General Assembly, local elected officials and members of the community to dedicate the newly created Cummins Falls State Park, the 54th addition to the Tennessee State Parks system. 

“I want to extend my congratulations to the citizens of both Jackson and Putnam counties who rallied in support of preserving and protecting Cummins Falls as a state park, opening up to the public a beautiful, one-of-a-kind landmark for use today and for future generations,” Gov. Haslam said.  “Cummins Falls will not only serve as a constant reminder of the natural beauty Tennessee has to offer, this new state park will continue to demonstrate how private/public partnerships can work together to make a difference.” 

Located on the beautiful Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, this idyllic 211-acre site in Jackson County is home to Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall at 75 feet high.  Cummins Falls is formed on the Eastern Highland Rim and has been a favorite scenic spot and swimming hole for residents of Jackson and Putnam counties for more than 100 years.  Cummins Falls also has been listed as one of the 10 best swimming holes in the United States by Travel and Leisure magazine.

The addition of the new park at Cummins Fall was made possible through the leadership of Gov. Haslam, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and through the coordinating efforts and support of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. Other key partners include the Nature Conservancy’s Tennessee Chapter, the Cummins family, the State Lands Acquisition Fund and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.  

“Gov. Haslam has emphasized a healthier Tennessee as one of his top Administration priorities, and I envision Cummins Falls and all of our great state parks playing an important role in this effort to create healthier citizens,” said Commissioner Martineau.  “I join the governor in thanking all of the incredible partners who helped us create this new addition to the Tennessee State Parks’ family.  Most notably, I want to acknowledge the hard work put forth by the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation in bringing this effort about and for their commitment to this beautiful land going forward.” 

“Cummins Falls is one of the premier Tennessee natural treasures,” said Kathleen Williams, president and CEO of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.  “We are so grateful to Gov. Haslam, our friends at the Department of Environment and Conservation and their state parks team, and the members of the legislature who love and want to conserve our beautiful homeland.”  

Situated in the Cordell Hull watershed, Cummins Falls’ forest includes a variety of oaks, beech, buckeye, sycamore and hemlock trees.  Woodland plants include October’s lady tresses, star chickweed, liverleaf and Allegheny spurge.  The property’s forested streamside protects turkey, quail and eagles, as well as a variety of fox, mink and unique insects such as damselflies and dragonflies.  

Through a cooperative agreement with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, fishing for bluegill and bass along the riverbank will be permitted with a Tennessee fishing license.  

While Cummins Falls State Park is officially open to the public, enhancements to the park – including trails, additional road work, restroom facilities and a small park office – are still part of the overall park management plan.  The park will be a day-use park and will be open from 8 a.m. until sunset year-round.  

Ranger Ray Cutcher will serve as Cummins Falls’ new park manager, and Jeremy Vaden will serve as an additional ranger on staff.  Both Mr. Cutcher and Mr. Vaden are familiar with the area, having served as part of the Burgess Falls State Park team.  Until various facilities can be added to Cummins Falls, Burgess Falls State Park will continue to provide some staff support and office space for the park management team.  The park office number for Burgess Falls is 931.432-5312. 

Cummins Falls’ history includes a time when Indians used the area to track the numerous buffalo that wallowed in the river’s shallow areas.  In the 1790s, Sergeant Blackburn, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and for whom the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River was named, was awarded the land in lieu of a pension.  The land was acquired by John Cummins in 1825, and he used the land to build the first of two mills.  Because of his growing clientele, a larger second mill was built in 1845.  Local residents would visit the mills and the falls for both commerce and recreation. 

The mill was washed away during the great flood of 1928, but cars and paved highways had already begun to make the trek to Cummins Falls more accessible.  The land was not rebuilt but stayed with the Cummins family for more than 180 years until the recent efforts by the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation to purchase the land through private and public donations for resale to the state of Tennessee for nearly $1,040,000.  

Tennessee's 54 state parks and 82 natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups.  State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses.  For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 888.867-2757. For additional information, visit www.tnstateparks.com.

To help commemorate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary milestone, the department has launched a new microsite on www.tnvacation.com, honoring the rich heritage of Tennessee State Parks and showcasing the outdoor adventures available at park sites today. Among many great features, the microsite highlights a wide range of richly-illustrated content that will help plan a park visit, an interactive timeline that stretches all the way back to the beginning of Tennessee State Parks to the most current events, and a Junior Ranger game.


Tennessee's Newest Arboretum At Grace Episcopal Church To Be Dedicated Sunday

Permit Application Now Available For '22 Free Light Goose Conservation Season

PHOTOS: Sandhill Cranes Arrive


The blessing and opening of GreenGrace Arboretum, Tennessee's newest certified arboretum, will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. It is at Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave. An outdoor reception ... (click for more)

Sportsmen are reminded that a free permit is required to participate in the 2022 Light Goose Conservation season which will be held Feb. 14-March 21. Hunters can claim their free permit ... (click for more)



Outdoors

Tennessee's Newest Arboretum At Grace Episcopal Church To Be Dedicated Sunday

The blessing and opening of GreenGrace Arboretum, Tennessee's newest certified arboretum, will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. It is at Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave. An outdoor reception will follow. This invitation is offered on behalf of Reverend April Berends of Grace Episcopal Church and the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, The Right Reverend Brian ... (click for more)

Permit Application Now Available For '22 Free Light Goose Conservation Season

Sportsmen are reminded that a free permit is required to participate in the 2022 Light Goose Conservation season which will be held Feb. 14-March 21. Hunters can claim their free permit at https://License.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com (Type 2192). The Light Goose Conservation season is for Blue, Snow and Ross’s geese. The following provisions apply during the Light Goose Season ... (click for more)

Breaking News

3 More County Schools Shift To Remote Learning Due To High COVID Numbers

Three more county schools have switched to remote learning due to high COVID-19 numbers. School officials said, "The health and well-being of all Hamilton County students and staff has and will always be our highest priority. We are monitoring the current wave of COVID-19 spreading across our community and schools. Current state law does not permit the entire school district ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2 Sunday Morning Restaurant Fires

Several LongHorn Steakhouse employees acted fast Sunday morning when a fire in the kitchen got out of control, safely exiting the restaurant and calling 911 for help. Multiple CFD Red Shift companies responded to the business at 5771 Brainerd Road. The kitchen hood was on fire and flames were coming through the hood vent on the roof. A second alarm was called to bring additional ... (click for more)

Opinion

Earl Freudenberg: Johnny Haynes Overcame His Disability To Become A Police Department Fixture

Johnny Haynes was a special person. Under almost clear skies and 45 degree temperatures, he was buried Saturday afternoon when a small group of his friends gathered at Greenwood Cemetery off Wilcox Boulevard for the committal service. The retired Chattanooga Police Department employee has been my friend since 1962. The Central High School graduate was born with polio but was ... (click for more)

Employers Broke The Social Contract - And Response

Along with our trust, most employers are going to need to give those who participated in the great resignation something to hold onto. The cliché during the pandemic is that we’re all in the same storm, not the same boat. Some of you are in yachts while the rest of us are drowning, grasping at driftwood. For some it’s being deep in medical debt, for others they suffer from burnout ... (click for more)