GRUNDY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) —Gov. Bill Lee announced Thursday the creation of Savage Gulf State Park in Grundy and Sequatchie counties, bringing the total of Tennessee’s state parks to 57.
The park, which features one of Tennessee’s most scenic areas, includes the nearly 19,000-acre Savage Gulf State Natural Area, which is also a National Natural Landmark.
“This a special day for Tennessee State Parks,” Lee said. “It’s one of the most spectacular sites in our state, and the new park will serve Tennesseans for many years to come. Tennessee State Parks are recognized as one of the best state parks systems in the country, and this park adds to that special standing.”
Sitting on the Western edge of the Cumberland Plateau, Savage Gulf is one of Tennessee’s most incredible wilderness areas. The site contains old-growth forest and remarkable vistas, including waterfalls and the Great Stone Door, an impressive cliff line overlooking Savage Gulf that gets its name from a top-to-bottom crack in the cliff, resembling a door left slightly ajar.
Savage Gulf boasts attractions ranging from waterfalls to wildflowers along with sandstone cliffs and picturesque gorges. Visitors can hike, swim, rock climb, and camp.
The new park includes land formerly managed as part of South Cumberland State Park. South Cumberland had become too large to manage effectively as a single park, and the land’s unique characteristics warrant status as a stand-alone park, according to a release.
“Savage Gulf State Park will be a unique Tennessee attraction,” said Commissioner David Salyers of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “We want all Tennesseans to enjoy its natural beauty and recreation opportunities, and we are grateful to the governor and the Tennessee General Assembly for their leadership in making this happen.”
The Tennessee General Assembly provided $30,380,000 for future improvements, including a visitors center, RV campground, and infrastructure to support new facilities. For now, current access points remain in place.
According to a release, while most of Savage Gulf will continue to be maintained as a designated state natural area, the park will include the addition of a 744-acre developable area comprised of the former Shady Valley nursery and two recently acquired tracts. Key partners in the creation of the park include the Friends of South Cumberland, the State Lands Acquisition Fund and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.