Rocky Fork State Park (Tennessee)
|Rocky Fork State Park|
View into Rocky Fork from Buzzard Rock.
|Type||Tennessee State Park|
|Location||Unicoi County, Tennessee, USA|
|Nearest city||Erwin, Tennessee|
|Area||2,036 acres (8.24 km2)|
|Operated by||Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation|
|Website||Rocky Fork State Park|
Rocky Fork State Park (RFSP) is a 2,075-acre (3.242 sq mi) Tennessee State Park (https://tnstateparks.com/) in Unicoi County in East Tennessee. It is situated in the Blue Ridge region of the Appalachian Mountains, close to the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. The park is adjacent to the Cherokee National Forest, and it is in close proximity to the Appalachian Trail. The Sampson Mountain Wilderness is also nearby.
The land was designated a Tennessee State Park in October 2012, but wasn't officially opened and staffed until May 2015. As of January 2019, Rocky Fork State Park has been named after Senator Lamar Alexander for his continued efforts in keeping Tennessee a safe and healthy place to live. Rocky Fork State Park has no developed facilities/infrastructure yet. There is a portable toilet at this time. Hiking and mountain biking are permitted on a network of old road beds, and fishing is allowed in Rocky Fork and South Indian Creeks, below & downstream of the State Park Main Entrance Gate. Special Fishing Regulations exist behind & upstream of the State Park’s Main Entrance Gate, it is single hook with artificial lures and flies only.
RFSP has been making efforts to "Go Green" and to be as sustainable as possible. Rocky Fork State Park has completed the Bronze Recognition Level of the TN State Parks Go Green With Us Initiative and Guidelines. The guidelines include multiple areas of environmental sustainability including education and outreach, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste and recycling and much more. Congrats to this park for going above and beyond to be excellent stewards of our natural resources!
- Rocky Fork State Park is Tennessee State Park’s newest park nestled in the Cherokee National Forest, and does not yet have any infrastructure. It has the second highest number of rare and endangered plant species growing within the Tennessee state park system, and the Rocky Fork Creek, after which the park is named, is the most pollutant-free creek in the Nolichucky River Watershed. The park is working to protect and preserve these unique natural resources, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Division of Forestry, the U.S. Forest Service, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
- With 14 miles of state park trails and large elevation changes, the park is developing the trails to be more sustainable in order to reduce soil erosion and vegetation damage. Park staff have been removing the exotic-invasive plants like Japanese spirea, tree-of-heaven, and multiflora rose. Through a partnership to improve the forest ecosystem with Tennessee Division of Forestry, the park has started to treat native hemlocks to remove and protect against the invasive species the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA). In an attempt to recover some of the lost hemlocks due to the HWA, a pilot project is in development between Rocky Fork State Park and local high school agriculture and environmental science classes to grow hemlocks from Rocky Fork hemlock cuttings.
- Also, in anticipation of planned park development occurring in the front country of the park, water quality of park creeks will be tracked before, during, and after the development to minimize impact on the watershed. Water quality testing will be completed by park staff and a local high school environmental science class. Additionally, most of the park’s foot bridges are constructed of reclaimed hemlock trees (that have been killed by HWA). To support the Tennessee State Parks “Go Green With Us” Initiative, bear-resistant trash cans and a variety of recycling containers will be installed at the park.
Current Activities at RFSP: https://tnstateparks.com/parks/activities/rocky-fork
Official Rocky Fork State Park Brochure: https://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/park-brochures/lamar-alexander-rocky-fork_brochure_2019.pdf
Now that Official Rocky Fork State Park Trail Map is available to the public, all trails are designated for single to multi-use designations.
For the Hard Copy/Printable Version of the Official Rocky Fork State Park Map: https://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/park-maps/rocky-fork-map.jpg
For the Geo-referenced PDF of the Official Rocky Fork State Park Map (can be used on a cellular device with/without signal; on airplane mode): https://www.avenzamaps.com/maps/447185/rocky-fork-state-park/
Rocky Fork State Park Rules and Regulations exist here http://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/rocky-fork-rules-jg-3-7-16.pdf
Any questions regarding RFSP, please call Park Office Cell Phone # 423-271-1233
RFSP Mailing Address: PO Box 22, Flag Pond, TN 37657
RFSP Physical Address: 501 Rocky Fork Road, Flag Pond, TN 37657
RFSP GPS Coordinates: 36.0482, -82.5566
- "Rocky Fork State Park - About". Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation. Retrieved 2 September 2015.