Tennessee state parks are back in bloom just in time for visitors to enjoy the natural splendor of spring and summer.
Rock Island State Park officially reopened last Friday, April 24 to day-use visitors. The March 24 shutdown of all Tennessee state parks was ordered by Gov. Bill Lee to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re definitely excited to be open to provide our local community with an area to get outside, enjoy nature and stretch their legs, but we hope people will continue to take things seriously and maintain the guidelines set in place so we can remain open to the public,” says Rock Island State Park manager Damon Graham.
Some Tennessee state parks have not been so lucky to reopen. Cummins Falls State Park located near Cookeville, Seven Islands State Birding Park in Knox County and Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park in Unicoi County still remain closed until further notice.
A variety of outdoor activities are available for park visitors to enjoy at Rock Island State Park.
“Since reopening, we’ve definitely seen a decent amount of people come to the park. However, the weather last weekend wasn’t great,” said Graham on Friday. “But with better weather being expected this weekend, we’re anticipating larger crowds.”
“We’re really advising people who visit their local park to follow all CDC guidelines, including having no more than 10 individuals in a group, staying six feet apart from others, even while on hiking trails, and avoiding overcrowded areas,” added Graham.
On Friday, May 1, many state park visitor centers, restrooms, playgrounds and other social gathering places opened. Signage throughout state parks will encourage proper social distancing guidelines and provide information about the cleaning standards for particular facilities or spaces.
“On Friday, everything except the campgrounds, cabins and overnight facilities were opened,” says Graham. “Those overnight facilities will only be available to individuals who had made reservations prior to the pandemic shutting everything down. No new reservations are currently being accepted.”
Graham states the park expects to be able to begin accepting new reservations on May 15 depending on how the situation evolves.
For more information, call 686-2471 or visit tnstateparks.com/parks/rock-island to view the full list of what is currently open to the public.