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Tennessee State Parks kick off 75th anniversary

January 15th, 2012 6:17 pm by Carmen Musick

Tennessee State Parks kick off 75th anniversary

Roan Mountain State Park is home to a wide range of hiking trails with difficulty levels ranging from easy to strenuous.

The Tennessee State Parks system is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2012 - and everyone is invited to be part of the celebration.

The system kicked off the year-long commemoration with a series of special hikes, held during the first few days of the new year, and the celebration continues with a variety of special programs slated across the state throughout the year. In addition, Tennessee State Parks has unveiled a specially-designed 75th Anniversary logo – reminiscent of the ranger uniform patches of yesteryear.

The Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937, and those laws - with modifications and additions over the years - remain the framework for park operations today. As in most states, it was state cooperation with federal programs that instigated individual parks. Later, Depression era recovery programs gave a boost to the idea and the possibility of creating parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration worked on land conservation, but also delved further into the actual planning and construction of what would become the first of 53 Tennessee State Parks.

Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about every spot in Tennessee.

A 2009 University of Tennessee study highlighted the positive economic impacts that state parks provide local communities, particularly in rural areas of the state. The study found that for every dollar spent on trips to Tennessee State Parks, an additional $1.11 of economic activity was generated throughout the state. When the direct and indirect expenditures were combined, the impact of Tennessee State Parks to the state’s economy was $1.5 billion in total industry output, supporting more than 18,600 jobs.

"Our vision statement highlights the inherent value of our natural environment, along with the value of the many physical reminders of Tennessee’s past," Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said. "Tennessee’s state parks have played such an important role in our history, and they play a critical role in our health and quality of life, which will benefit Tennesseans well into the future."

Tennessee’s state parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, wild places, preserved ecologies, outdoor recreational opportunities and protected historic scenes and resources - weaving together a tapestry of Tennessee heritage. Across the state, offerings range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. And, as advertised, one need not travel very far from home to start exploring the wide range of programs and amenities that Tennessee State Parks have to offer. In Northeast Tennessee alone, there are four state parks in or just a short distance from Kingsport.

Warriors' Path State Park

Warriors' Path State Park, located in Kingsport, was named for the park's proximity to the ancient war and trading path used by the Cherokee. The 950-acre area was acquired from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1952 to serve the people who live in or visit this section of Northeast Tennessee. Situated on the shores of TVA's Patrick Henry Reservoir on the Holston River, Warriors' Path offers biking, boating, camping, fishing, golf, hiking trails, horseback riding, picnic facilities, swimming and an all-abilities Boundless Playground, as well as a wide range of educational programs and events throughout the year. The next special event scheduled at the park is the annual Winter Gardening Seminar, Jan. 20-21. The program is free. However, pre-registration is required.

Roan Mountain State Park

Roan Mountain State Park encompasses 2,006 acres of southern Appalachian forest at the base of the towering 6,285-foot Roan Mountain. Park elevation ranges from 3,000 feet in the valley to around 3,700 feet on surrounding ridges. The park's rich hardwood forests allow for a great diversity of plant and wildlife, and are home to a wide range of hiking trails with difficulty levels ranging from easy to strenuous. The park also offers cabins, camping, fishing, swimming, a historic farmstead, a meeting facility, and various educational programs throughout the year. The next special event at the park is the Winter Naturalists' Rally, hosted by the Friends of Roan Mountain, slated for Feb. 11.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

Perhaps the most historically significant site in Tennessee, Sycamore Shoals played a pivotal role not only in Tennessee history, but in the American Revolution. Today, the historic site is preserved as a Tennessee State Park that invites visitors to relive history and enjoy a variety of historical, cultural and recreational experiences, including a reconstructed replica of Fort Watauga. Open from daylight to dark, the park offers hiking trails, a visitors center with an interpretive facility, picnic facilities, and various educational events and programs. The next special event at the park is a Living History Militia Muster, scheduled for Feb. 18-19, at Fort Watauga.

Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park

Davy Crockett's Birthplace has been preserved as an historic site within the state park system. The site consists of 105 partially wooded acres of land along the Nolichucky River in the Limestone community in Greene County. The museum at the park contains exhibits which tell the story of different aspects of Davy Crockett's life. In addition to the museum, the park features a cabin replica and historic park, camping, fishing, picnic facilities, swimming, and various programs and events.

To learn more about Tennessee State Parks and 75th anniversary events, visit or call 1-888-867-2757 for a free brochure.

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