Tennessee seeks visitor input on Fall Creek Falls State Park

photo Fall Creek Falls State Park visitors Rhonda Bigler, foreground, and Deborah Nash cross a swinging bridge for a view of Cane Creek on Tuesday. State parks officials are surveying Fall Creek Falls guests who stay at the resort park's inn, cabins and campsites about ideas for updates and improvements.

TO PARTICIPATECabin guests: www.surveymonkey.com/s/FCFCabinSurveyCampsite guests: www.surveymonkey.com/s/FCFCampgroundSurveyInn guests: www.surveymonkey.com/s/FCFInnSurveyAll three surveys also can be found on Fall Creek Falls' main website at www.tnstateparks.com/FallCreekFalls.Source: Tennessee State Parks

Jim Phillips doesn't whisper when he tells you he knows the "best-kept secret in the state of Tennessee."

It's Fall Creek Falls State Park.

"As far as accommodations and beautiful scenery, it is the best there is," Phillips said with a confident nod to his wife, Nancy.

The Jacksboro, Tenn., couple are frequent visitors who said they adore the park and its facilities. They were delivering woven baskets to Fall Creek Falls' Park Inn on Tuesday.

But Phillips grudgingly admitted that some of the rooms at his favorite inn need updates "like carpet, curtains" and "better TV reception."

That's the point of surveys being given to Fall Creek Falls' lodging guests, according to state parks spokeswoman Shannon Ashford. The surveys also can be taken online.

"When many of the park's facilities were designed in the 1970s, the average park user's recreation interests differed greatly from today's users," Ashford said. "As park management goes through the design process, we are seeking input from current and potential users on what services, facilities and amenities they seek when selecting a park."

The state plans renovations at the inn, cabins and the Village Green area. The park has 30 cabins and the inn has 145 rooms. The Village Green -- not yet operating because the weather is still cold -- is a collection of outdoor facilities including a pool, shops, picnic shelters, snack bar and restrooms.

All the park's lodging facilities are in line for renovations, including new heating and cooling systems, Ashford said.

There are three surveys available -- one each for inn, cabin and campsite guests -- and they take about 15 minutes to complete, she said.

"All responses are anonymous and will be used to potentially make changes at Fall Creek Falls and other state parks," she said.

Gizella Jahoda and her husband, John, drove from McMinnville, Tenn., to take a scenic lunch at the park restaurant and celebrate their 47th anniversary. They're frequent park visitors, she said.

Jahoda agreed the inn could use a little face-lift, but said she still "loves the rooms" and the view of the Fall Creek Falls reservoir they overlook.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.