Four lawmakers penned a letter Wednesday questioning state officials about delays with installing a warning system at Cummins Falls.
Senator Paul Bailey and State Representatives Cameron Sexton, Ryan Williams, and John Mark Windle asked for immediate attention to the matter and prompt installation of a warning system at the falls.
Representative Windle said he expects Governor Bill Lee to help address issues surrounding the park.
“We need more staff and we need more park rangers at Cummins Falls, and I believe that the governor will step up and provide us more,” Windle said. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance what happened this week, but I do think now’s the time to solve the problem and provide some type of an early warning device so the visitors of our park can be alerted to some type of an emergency.”
“It is past time to make installing a warning system a priority,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson.
The letter to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation coming days after a rush of water stranded more than 60-people at the falls and killed a young boy.
“In 2017, your department announced plans to install a warning system at Cummins Falls State Park to better monitor the gorge’s rising water levels. It is now June 2019, another life has been lost and the warning system has still not been installed,” the lawmakers said. “After the last death, it was our understanding that a system would be implemented in an effort to prevent further deaths. Why has this warning system not been installed at Cummins Falls State Park?”
TDEC announced earlier this week that the falls will remain closed until at least Friday. The closure allows Tennessee State Parks to assess Sunday’s flash flood incident.
Three people have died in the last two years at the falls due to flash flooding.