JACKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (AMANDA GREER) -- It’s been almost a month since two people drowned and forty more were stranded by flash flooding at Cummins Falls State Park.
The tragedy isn’t likely to hurt attendance at the park given the spot’s long history as a favorite Tennessee swimin’ hole.
Cummins Falls is located northwest of Cookeville in Jackson County. It’s been a popular summer destination for years, well before it became a state park in 2012.
Park manager Ray Cutcher says that in 2016 alone, Cummins Falls had over 300,000 visitors. That’s up fifty thousand from the year before.
“Everybody wanting to come experience it and get down there and swim in the water below the waterfall and climb up on all the ledges and get underneath the waterfall. I think all of those things are what has made it become so popular so fast.”
To compensate for the increased visitation, the park is looking to add a visitors' center and additional restrooms. The state is also working on the park’s accessibility.
“We’re working on a project to put an observation deck at our overlook site so that it’ll be accessible for people with disabilities so they can get out there and view the waterfall as well.”
Following the flash flood tragedy, park officials are also working to upgrade safety measures. Meetings are ongoing with National Weather Service and other agencies to develop a warning system at the park.