Nature & Science

Small side stream with lush vegetation.
Small side stream with lush vegetation.

Chuck Summers


The Big South Fork is located in north central Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky in some of the most rugged terrain of the Cumberland Plateau. The park encompasses approximately 125,000 acres of both rugged forested gorge and adjacent forested plateau. Together with the state and federal lands which share the north and western boundaries the area offers a wide variety of habitats in which plants and animals may abound.

Within the Big South Fork numerous pristine streams flow into the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. Over the eons, this ceaseless moving water has carved the sandstones of the plateau into the impressive cliffs, arches and chimneys found throughout the park.

White fringless orchid
White fringless orchid

Bryan Wender

Appalachian Highlands Science Journal

The Appalachian Highlands Science Journal focuses on scientific research resulting from the efforts of Natural Resource Challenge projects in the Appalachian Highlands Monitoring Network. The journal presents results from the Inventory and Monitoring team, the Exotic Plant Management Team, the Southern Appalachian CESU (Cooperative Ecosystems Study Unit) and the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.


Social Science

In 2012, the Big South Fork NRRA in conjunction with the Park Studies Unit of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho conducted many contact stops to hand out surveys to the visiting public. The information that was gathered during this period has been compiled and is now available for review.

"Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Visitor Study"

"Impacts of Visitor Spending on the Local Economy"

Last updated: March 23, 2020

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Mailing Address:

4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, TN 37841


(423) 569-9778

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