The park was named for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the intrepid Confederate cavalry leader, who on November 4, 1864, attacked and destroyed the federal supply and munitions depot at (Old) Johnsonville at the mouth of Trace Creek. His operations were concentrated along the river in the vicinity of the park and the town of Eva.
In 1929 the park was dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest on land acquired in part from Benton County
. Forrest was one of the greatest military tacticians and leaders of the American Civil War.