The State of Tennessee is poised to take over management of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge as the first state birding park with a ribbon cutting on July 1. Seven Islands State Birding Park will encompass over 400 acres along the French Broad River off Kelly Lane in east Knox County. Legacy Parks Foundation has managed Seven Islands for the past three years.

“We see this as the flagship of a statewide birding tour,” said Governor Haslam when he made the announcement at Legacy Parks’ annual luncheon last year. Seven Islands is currently the largest wildlife refuge in East Tennessee, with acres of forests, fields, and rolling farmland, eight miles of natural trails and greenway, and a one-mile paved trail.

At the last count, over 180 different species of birds have been sighted at Seven Islands, a “wonderland” according to birding experts. The Tennessee Ornithological Society states the native grasses, wildflowers, and other fruit bearing plants and trees on the property provide a food source that attracts many of the declining bird species.

The park will be open to the public during regular hours, 8 a.m. until sunset.