Alexander: Rocky Fork May One Day Be Tennessee’s Most Popular State Park

Urges Unicoi County leaders, businesses to turn new state park into an economic advantage the way Blount and Sevier Counties have

Posted on September 2, 2015

ERWIN, Tenn., September 2, 2015 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said Rocky Fork, Tennessee’s newest state park, “may one day be its most popular,” thanks to its sections of the Appalachian Trail, miles of native Brook Trout streams with cascades and waterfalls, historic battle site, Black Bear Reserve, significant wildlife habitat and scenic vistas.

“Rocky Fork, Upper East Tennessee’s ‘Gateway to the Appalachian Trail,’ is one more way our beautiful mountains will attract anyone who enjoys the Great American Outdoors,” Alexander said.  “Congratulations to The Conservation Fund, Governor Haslam, the Forest Service, and other state and local officials for their hard work and vision in creating this great new addition to Tennessee’s tradition of protecting our lands and heritage while at the same time increasing tourism and bringing in more dollars from around the world.”

In 2010, Erwin was named an official Appalachian Trail Community, which demonstrates the importance of the area and its ability to become a popular destination for recreational use and tourism. The State of Tennessee is currently working to construct a road system, a visitor center, ranger station, campgrounds, parking area and restroom facilities for the new park.

“The state that sells nearly 900,000 hunting and fishing licenses every year should lead the country in taking advantage of enjoyment of the Great American Outdoors. This is a big opportunity for Unicoi County and Northeast Tennessee leaders to turn a state park and its easy access to millions of Americans looking for an outdoor experience, into an economic advantage the way Blount and Sevier Counties have,” Alexander said.

Alexander made his remarks today as he joined Congressman Phil Roe, members of The Conservation Fund, the U.S. Forest Service and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to commemorate the completion of efforts to protect the largest unprotected tract of land in the Southern Appalachians.

Rocky Fork is a 10,000 acre tract within the Cherokee National Forest in Unicoi and Greene Counties that has been available for public use and enjoyment for over 40 years. Beginning in 2006, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and The Conservation Fund worked in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to protect Rocky Fork.  

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