Savage Gulf becomes 57th Tennessee State Park
Gov. Bill Lee and Commissioner David Salyers of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced the creation of Savage Gulf State Park in Grundy and Sequatchie counties, a boost for recreation in the region, bringing the total of Tennessee’s state parks to 57.
The park, featuring one of Tennessee’s most scenic areas, includes the nearly 19,000-acre Savage Gulf State Natural Area, which is also a National Natural Landmark. The site contains old-growth forest and remarkable vistas, including waterfalls and the Great Stone Door, an impressive cliff line overlooking Savage Gulf that gets its name from a top-to-bottom crack in the cliff, resembling a door left slightly ajar.
The new park includes land formerly managed as part of South Cumberland State Park. South Cumberland had become too large to manage effectively as a single park, and the land’s unique characteristics warrant status as a stand-alone park.
The Tennessee General Assembly provided $30,380,000 for future improvements, including a visitors center, RV campground, and infrastructure to support new facilities. For now, current access points remain as is.
While most of Savage Gulf will continue to be maintained as a designated state natural area, the park will include the addition of a 744-acre developable area comprised of the former Shady Valley nursery and two recently acquired tracts. Key partners in the creation of the park include the Friends of South Cumberland, the State Lands Acquisition Fund, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.