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New White County State Park Funded By Legislature

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
New White County State Park Funded By Legislature

The Scott’s Gulf State Park in White County will become a reality over the next several years, after the State Legislature funded the project.

State Senator Paul Bailey and other local leaders pushed for the $27 million plus to build a visitor’s center, roadways and parking for the new wilderness park. The legislature approved the expenditure last week.

The 9,000 acre park will unite the Virgin Falls State Natural Area.

“We find that not only Tennesseans like coming and visiting these parks, but we have so many people that travel from other parts of the country just to come visit these parks,” Bailey said. “And with that comes economic development because they’re staying in our motels, they’re shopping at our stores, they’re eating in our restaurants. Even if they bring a camper and they camp out, they usually always have to have the supplies that go along with camping. So it’s just a huge economic boom for an area.”

The budget also includes reoccurring money to pay for park rangers.

Bailey said the center will not open overnight, projecting a late 2025 opening. The money allocated by the new fiscal year budget will begin the design phase of the project.

“So that people that are visiting the area will have a comfortable place to be able to come and start their adventure there,” Bailey said.

As for future plans, Bailey said much of that will depend on the popularity of the park. He pointed to Cummins Falls State Park as one that has grown as interest and attendance has increased.

“We didn’t realize what the amount of visitors that we were going to have on a seasonal basis and actually a yearly basis,” Bailey said. “So that’s the reason it spurred on a visitor center there and got facilities up and going. It’ll be the same thing there for Scott’s Gulf and the Virgin Falls area once we build out the facilities based on the volume of visitors that come there, whether or not we need to continue to enhance those facilities.”

Bailey said the White County community advocated for the creation of this park which should give more people the chance to enjoy the beauty of Virgin Falls and spend money in the local community.

“It’s just a win-win for the entire Upper Cumberland,” Bailey said.


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