Booker T. Washington State Park Honored for Interpretation
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has recognized Booker T. Washington State Park for excellence in interpretation as part of the 2020 Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence.
“The staff at Booker T. Washington is meeting the park’s interpretive mission of combining environmental education and outdoor recreation,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson said. “This work goes beyond simply being a good host to visitors. It gives visitors an experience that will last.”
Activities at the park range from brick making to Nature Hunt Bingo. Programs include canoeing, hiking, plant and tree recognition, fishing, fish identification, and programs explaining beehives and ant farms.
Booker T. Washington State Park is named for the leader Booker Taliaferro Washington, who was born into slavery, freed by age 9, and fought to earn a higher education. Washington is best known for being a president of the Tuskegee Institute. He strongly believed that agriculture and vocational education were keys to advancing a free race to a better life.
The park, on the shores of Chickamauga Lake, not far from Chattanooga, comprises 353 acres. It features a challenging six-mile mountain biking trail, an Olympic sized pool including a children’s wading pool. The park has three large picnic pavilions, each accommodating up to 60 people, as well as more than 30 picnic sites throughout the park.
The 2020 Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence were presented on Sept. 29 at Montgomery Bell State Park as part of an in-person and virtual annual park management meeting. Managers had an option of attending in person with social distancing or participating virtually.
Other winners included Frozen Head State Park as Park of the Year; Norris Dam State Park for community engagement; Montgomery Bell State Park for facilities management; Cummins Falls State Park for innovation; Fall Creek Falls State Park for resource management; and Warriors’ Path State Park for sustainability.