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Rock Island State Park to Hold Anniversary Events May 5

Thursday, May 03, 2012 | 10:17am

Celebration Will Help Commemorate Tennessee

State Parks’ 75th Anniversary


ROCK ISLAND, Tenn. – The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary and to help commemorate this important milestone, Rock Island State Park will hold special community events on Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The events coincide with Rock Island State Park’s own 45th anniversary of the park’s dedication in 1967. 


“We are very excited to celebrate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary this year,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau.  “As one of our most unique state parks, Rock Island is certainly a fitting backdrop for the various statewide celebrations we will be holding throughout the year.  It’s also a great opportunity to thank the park’s many patrons and the entire local community for all their hard work and efforts in support of this beautiful state park.” 


Special interpretive programs and activities relating to the history of the park and the people who have made it special will be offered throughout the day. Beginning at 9 a.m. park staff will offer a guided hike, which will include the grand opening of the new Cunningham Cemetery History Trail, which passes old homesteads and cemeteries in the area. 


An additional guided hike also will offer a glimpse into the life of past residents of the Collins River peninsula area of the park, beginning at 2 p.m. Both guided hikes are approximately two hours long and participants are asked to meet at the Collins River trailhead. 


A "meet and greet" reception will be held at 11 a.m. at Picnic Shelter Area 2.  The reception will offer free refreshments, interpretive programs, park history information and a special visit from Ramble the Raccoon, Tennessee State Parks' beloved mascot. 


All events are open to the public.  Additional details can be found on Rock Island State Park's Facebook page or by contacting the park office at (931) 686-2471.


The Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937, and those laws – with modifications and additions over the years – remain the framework for park operations today.  As in most states, Tennessee began in cooperation with federal programs that instigated individual parks. Later, Depression era recovery programs gave a boost to the idea and the possibility of creating parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration worked on land conservation, but also delved further into the actual planning and construction of what would become the first of 53 Tennessee State Parks.


Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in Tennessee.  A 2009 University of Tennessee study highlights the positive economic impacts that state parks provide local communities, particularly in rural areas of the state.  The study found that for every dollar spent on trips to Tennessee State Parks, an additional $1.11 of economic activity was generated throughout the state.  When the direct and indirect expenditures were combined, the impact of Tennessee State Parks to the state’s economy was $1.5 billion in total industry output, supporting more than 18,600 jobs.


“Our vision statement highlights the inherent value of our natural environment, along with the value of the many physical reminders of Tennessee’s past,” added Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.  “Tennessee’s state parks have played such an important role in our history, and they play a critical role in our health and quality of life, which will benefit Tennesseans well into the future.”


Tennessee’s state parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, wild places, preserved ecologies, outdoor recreational opportunities and protected historic scenes and resources – together representing the heritage of Tennessee in the landscape.


Tennessee's 53 state parks and 82 state 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 1-888-867-2757. For upcoming events in connection with the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, please visit the state parks website at


The scenic beauty of this wooded park is dominated by the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River – an imposing limestone gorge or “gulf” as it is called in the region.  It provides scenic overlooks, waterfalls and deep pools for fishing, rock hopping and exploring. Located at the confluence of the Collins and Caney Fork rivers, this 883-acre park has a natural sand beach on Center Hill Reservoir. Historic features of the park include a 19th-century textile mill and one of Tennessee's early hydroelectric plants.  For additional information about the park, please visit



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