Cummins Falls reopens with enhanced safety measures

Local News

JACKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The gorge portion of Cummins Falls has reopened with a number of new safety measures in place.

On Wednesday, the park officially re-opened for the first time in nearly two months. 

Fans returned in droves to make the hike. 

“We decided to roll the dice, and see what it’s like,” said Christopher Good. 

Christopher and others though are seeing a lot more signage. Dotted here and there along the hike are reminders of the danger down in the gorge. 

Families will also now find newly marked refuge locations. The three areas are marked near the falls for situations when floodwaters rise again. 

“I think they’ve done an excellent job,” said Bradley Westrick, visiting the park for the first time. “I think those are all great measures to help prevent drownings.”

Other safety enhancements include requiring all visitors to the gorge to wear a life jacket. Those that don’t have a life jacket will be turned away.

Additional measures include a safety education video area, real-time weather, and water monitoring, as well as refuge areas for visitors.

Parts of the park had been closed since June pending an investigation after a toddler died in the waters.

Two-year-old Steven Pierce drowned and 63 people had to be rescued from the water. At least 50 victims were escorted out under their own power while 13 were rescued by swift water teams in the massive rescue effort.

Pierce was the third death at Cummins Falls in the last two years due to rising flood levels in the gorge.

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