When you think of Watkins Glen Falls in Tennessee, you might think of its picturesque surroundings.
But that is not where you are, said Mike Hensley, the director of public lands at the state Department of Natural Resources.
There are no waterfalls at Watkins Glen.
In fact, the only waterfalls on the land are on a small hill just outside the gates of the Glen in the town of Gatlinburg.
That means it is not a natural waterfall.
“We can’t have a waterfall on that land, so we just can’t,” Hensler said.
The problem is the Glen has not been designated a natural falls.
“When we first began looking at this area in 1995, there was no place to put a waterfall,” said Scott Gagnon, a geologist and member of the National Park Service’s Division of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).
That is why Gagnons office has been working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to create a list of places where the falls can be found.
“There is a whole section in the Tennessee Division of Natural resources that is specifically for natural falls,” Gagnson said.
“So if you are going to create any falls, you need to have a designation.”
The Tennessee Division has already created a list for Watkins Glen, and Gagnion said the list includes several other falls, including some of the most famous.
“The ones that are very, very famous are the Watkins Glen falls and those are pretty significant falls,” he said.
Some of the biggest falls in the world, including the Grand Canyon and Mount Everest, are also not on the list, but the DNR has started looking for them.
“I have been to some of these falls and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Gagdon said.
While Watkins Glen is the tallest waterfall in the United States, it is by no means the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.
“It’s a little bit smaller than Everest, and it’s pretty small,” Garen said.
So, where can a person find a waterfall?
The best place to see a waterfall in Tennessee is at the Gatlinburys waterfall, Gagnona said.
That is the falls that go up from Gatlinburgh, on the Tennessee side of the Tennessee River, and down to Watkins Glen on the North Carolina side.
It is a narrow strip of water, between the creek and the falls, and is where the water meets the mountain, Garen added.
But Gagnonia said the falls are not all that spectacular.
“You can see that there is a lot of rock that goes up to it,” Garanton said.
And while the falls aren’t that impressive, they are still a popular spot for families.
Henslers wife, Sarah, said her family often goes to Watkins Glens falls.
The falls are in a relatively small area, so the water is clear and warm, Hensleys wife said.
She said she has seen her husband and children enjoying the waterfalls, especially when they were young.
“They loved the waterfall because it was quiet, they liked it being there,” she said.
Hennesley said he also hopes the Falls will be added to the national list of national falls.
Gagnoni said he has asked for the list to be updated.
“For some reason, the falls just don’t get listed, so this is something that we need to address,” Gannon said, adding that if the falls could be added, it would help with the number of visitors to the falls.
There is a place on the National Register of Historic Places that is listed for the fall at Watkins Glen, Gannone said.
It also has a sign that says “the falls are a national park treasure.”
If the falls were added, the DNT would need to create an online portal to let visitors see where the Falls are, Gagon said in an email.
“That portal could be a good tool to help people find the falls,” said Gagnones wife, Hennes.
“Maybe it’s just an old photo, but I think it would be a really nice addition to the National Registry.”
Read more about waterfalls: More from our Tennessee partners: National Park Service: National Park of Tennessee | Department of National Resources: Tennessee Division Of Natural Resources: Gatlinberg Falls | National Park Services: Gatlyn Falls