Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has named Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge as a new state park.
Seven Islands State Birding Park will be the 56th state park in Tennessee.
"Our state parks offer residents and visitors unique ways to get outside and experience Tennessee, and Seven Islands is a great addition to our parks system," Haslam said. "Seven Islands is a special place in Knox County and East Tennessee, sitting along the migratory path of many bird species, and I am pleased that it will become Tennessee's first state birding park."
Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is currently
used as a wildlife sanctuary, an area for hiking and observation, an
educational facility for schools and other groups, a demonstration area for
land use and habitat management techniques and a small boat launch for canoes
and kayaks. The property is adjacent to the French Broad River and aquatic and
riparian habitats support an impressive diversity of wildlife species. Over 160
species of birds have been identified.
In addition, Haslam also announced that the
Legacy Parks Foundation will receive a $200,000 Recreation Trails Program grant
for the construction of a 4.5-mile trail in Knoxville that will connect a
middle school and outdoor classroom. The Knoxville Urban Wilderness Project
will add the new multi-use trail, offering a one-mile beginner trail, three
miles of intermediate trails and a half mile hiker-only trail. The trail head
parking area will be adjacent to the Doyle Middle School property.