Tennessee buys land to expand Cumberland State Park and trail - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee buys land to expand Cumberland State Park and trail

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RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

The State of Tennessee is looking to add more park space and this week comes major steps in expanding.

The Cumberland Trail is currently 190 miles of trail that stretches from Signal Point near Chattanooga, to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park at the border of Kentucky and Virginia.

"First time here at this park was probably about 20 years ago when I was in college," said Craig Finley.

Finley is an avid hiker and visits the Cumberland Trail as often as he can.

"In this area this is my favorite thing to do and if I couldn't do it, I guess I would have to find another hobby and I don't think I could find something that I would enjoy as much," said Finley.

But it's not something he has to worry about, after Tennessee State Officials announced the purchase of over 1000 acres of land in Rhea and Bledsoe counties, in order to add to the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland State Park.  

"I think it's really great. It's really beautiful land," said Finley.

Arthur Gothard tells Channel 3 the acreage will connect existing Tennessee park land and state natural areas along a proposed 300 mile route.

A trail that he says is currently not continuous. "It ties in different places along the road. So you'll have to drive to other areas to hike this that and the other," said Gothard.

The 1000 acres will hold 10 new miles of trail on the Cumberland Trail and will also provide protection to seven miles of streams and forest landscape, something Finley says he's happy about.

"It's peaceful, It's quiet. You hear birds and the river rather than cars and lawnmowers," said Finley. "I think now that the State is taking stewardship over it. It's much more secure, it's much less likely that it will be developed here."

If you'd like to know how to can help in the efforts to complete the trail, you can click here.

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