Polk County, Tennessee

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Polk County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It was created 28 November 1839 from parts of Bradley and McMinn counties. The county had a population of 16,050 in 2000. Its county seat is Benton[1]. The county was named after then-governor James Knox Polk.

It is included in the Cleveland, Tennessee, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 442 square miles (1,146 km²), of which 435 square miles (1,127 km²) is land and 7 square miles (19 km²) is water. The total area is 1.65% water.

Much of the terrain of eastern Polk County is mountainous, including Big Frog Mountain, constituting part of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Large tracts of Polk County are part of the Cherokee National Forest. The Ocoee River, site of whitewater slalom events in the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games, runs through Polk County and is vital to one of the county's major industries, whitewater rafting. The calmer Hiwassee River, a tributary of the Tennessee River which flows through northern Polk County, is also used for rafting and tubing.

In November 2009, a large rockslide closed U.S. Highway 64 through the Ocoee River Gorge, the county's main road connecting populated areas near Ducktown with the county seat in Benton. TDOT officials estimated that it will take over 2 months and $2.1 million to clear the road for traffic.[2]

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