Rock Island State Park Recreation Easement

Warren and White Counties, Tennessee

On February 28, 2020, TVA issued a final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) request for a 40-year term recreation easement over 367 acres of TVA-managed public lands for the purposes of public recreation, including up to 5 acres for commercial recreation.

Since 1971, the lands have been managed by TDEC in conjunction with its management of the adjacent Rock Island State Park. The land is located on Great Falls Reservoir in Warren County, Tennessee and along the Caney Fork River in Warren and White County, Tennessee.

There are three main aspects of the proposal:

  • Establishing a 40-year agreement allowing management of the TVA lands for public recreation by TDEC, including maintenance actions on existing facilities;
  • Restoration and use of an historic mill for commercial use within a five-acre area and the associated access improvements (e.g., parking); and
  • TVA would issue a separate easement to the State of Tennessee allowing the Department of Transportation (TDOT) to reroute a portion of the state highway (SR 287) away from the historic mill location for better development of the property and to improve access.    

The 40-year agreement would provide an easement for public recreation purposes in the area, with the exception of the 5-acre area at the historic mill which would be for commercial recreation purposes. The permanent easement to TDOT would separately provide for the state highway reroute.

In considering the request, TVA sought the appropriate management of its reservoir lands in a manner that maintains the quality of life and other important values. The past and current agreement with TDEC for managing TVA’s parcels at Great Falls has ensured that the area is actively managed to benefit the public. TVA’s interest in considering this proposal also arises from its commitment to improve the area’s economic base and support sustainable economic growth and to provide for public infrastructure needs. 

The proposed action is also consistent with TVA’s land use plan for the area. Completed in 2017, the Great Falls Reservoir Land Management Plan reflects TVA’s preference to continue to manage these parcels for recreation use and meets TVA’s objective to provide the public with quality, affordable public outdoor recreation opportunities.

Environmental Review

The EA evaluated the anticipated environmental impacts of the 40-year recreation easement, the restoration and use of the historic cotton mill and the reroute of SR-287 on TVA lands.  On May 14, 2018, TVA released a draft environmental assessment (EA) for public comment.  The comment period closed on June 18, 2018. TVA considered the public’s input in finalizing the EA and addresses the comments received in the final EA.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between TVA, TDOT, TDEC and the Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has been developed to ensure that the mill rehabilitation is consistent with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and to mitigate adverse effects to various cultural resources. The MOA was executed on February 25, 2020.


For more information, contact the TVA Public Land Information Center by phone at (800) 882-5263, or by mail to the following address:
Tennessee Valley Authority
c/o Lesley M. White
2835-A East Wood Street
Paris, Tennessee 38242

    Related Documents

    Great Falls Final Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA)

    Great Falls Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)


    More information on this environmental review can be obtained from:

    Doug White
    NEPA Specialist
    [email protected]
    400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11B
    Knoxville, TN 37902