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On a comfortable overcast day in May, with the sun peeking through the clouds, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was joined by more than 350 fellow Tennesseans near Cookeville, Tennessee to dedicate the newly created Cummins Falls State Park, the 54th addition to the Tennessee State Parks system.
Located on the beautiful Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, the new 211 acre state park in Jackson County is home to Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall at 75 feet high and was named by Travel and Leisure magazine as one of the 10 best swimming holes in the United States.
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me, I was baptized there (Cummins Falls). I got engaged there. I got my first kiss there, said Kathleen Williams, president and CEO of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. It’s a magical wonderful place.”
Under threat of development for nearly a decade, the new park was made possible through the leadership of Governor Haslam, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and through the coordinating efforts and support of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. Other key partners included the Nature Conservancy of Tennessee Chapter, the Cummins family and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Funding for the park’s land acquisition and improvements came from private donors, state natural resource funds and the Land Water and Conservation Fund.
“Cummins Falls will not only serve as a constant reminder of the natural beauty Tennessee has to offer, this new state park will continue to demonstrate how private/public partnerships can work together to make a difference,” concluded Governor Haslam.