The diverse natural landscape of aquatic and grassland habitats makes Seven Islands State Birding Park a premier birding destination with more than 180 species of birds sighted. The park encompasses 416 acres along the French Broad River in Knox County, approximately 19 miles east of Knoxville. This peninsula of land features more than eight miles of natural trails, rolling hills and views of the Smoky Mountains. In addition to being a wildlife refuge popular for hiking and wildlife observation, the park is a research and educational facility for schools and other groups and a demonstration area for land use and habitat management techniques. Songbirds, hawks and waterfowl can be seen along the meadow trails and several old barns are a favorite refuge for Barn Owls. For paddlers and anglers, there is a small canoe/kayak launch that provides access to the French Broad River.
The lands comprising the Seven Islands State Birding Park were acquired in 2002 as a wildlife refuge through a cooperative effort of the Seven Islands Foundation, a non-profit land conservancy, and the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department. The vision, goals and objectives of the Seven Island Foundation included preservation of this property as a wildlife sanctuary and refuge. The state of Tennessee will continue to manage this as a state park for native flora and fauna and low impact, non-consumptive, outdoor activities for enjoyment of the wildlife diversity and natural beauty of Seven Islands. Seven Islands became the 56th Tennessee State Park in September 2013.
In addition to preserving Seven Island’s natural resources, future planning and management at the park puts a new focus on improving ADA accessibility. We are currently working on upgrading our restroom facilities, and parking areas, as well as adding more benches, and renovating our existing trails to improve accessibility. One project in progress, is the creation of an ADA trail that will take visitors to a fully accessible pedestrian bridge crossing the French Broad River to Newman's Island. This is an exciting project, and we are looking forward to providing a safe and satisfying experience for all visitors.
A grand opening was held on July 1, 2014. Following the opening ceremony, guests participated in hikes and programs led by Tennessee State Park staff. View photo gallery.