Tennessee State Parks See Spike in Volunteers on National Public Lands Day

Monday, October 30, 2017 | 2:33pm

Tennessee State Parks benefited from the helping hands of 1,000 volunteers on National Public Lands Day – a 15 percent increase from the same day last year.

“Some of our popular as well as lesser known parks saw exceptional growth in the number of residents coming out to help,” said Brock Hill, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation deputy commissioner of parks and conservation. “This spirit speaks to the value our public lands offer Tennesseans: healthy recreation opportunities, local economic engines and responsible land conservation.”

Volunteers came out to support 52 different parks in Tennessee’s statewide system on Sept. 30. Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park had the most helpers at 122. Pickwick Landing State Park in West Tennessee and Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park near Chattanooga saw the biggest increases in participation – from two and six volunteers in 2016, respectively, to 50 and 32 volunteers in 2017.

Other parks, including David Crockett Birthplace in East Tennessee and Cedars of Lebanon in Middle Tennessee, saw upwards of 80 individuals mulching, constructing hiking trails, cleaning playground equipment and more.

Tennessee State Parks hosts five signature hikes annually to encourage visitors of all skill levels to get outside and enjoy our public lands. The final hike of 2017 will be the After Thanksgiving Hike on Friday, Nov. 24. To view a list of planned hikes across the state, as well as all Tennessee State Park events and park information, visit www.tnstateparks.com.