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Johnsonville State Historic Park Honored for Resource Management

Thursday, August 26, 2021 | 02:21pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has honored Johnsonville State Historic Park in New Johnsonville for resource management as part of the 2021 Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence. The park received the honor at a recent park management conference at Pickwick Landing State Park.

“The team at Johnsonville State Historic Park has worked hard to maintain the graves of African Americans in a way that is not only a plus for the park but for our state,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC, said. “It is a highlight of the excellent work done by the park staff, and the park is most deserving of the award for resource management.”

The park manages the African Methodist Cemetery, which contains the graves of African Americans, some of whom may have served the Union as members of the United States Colored Troops. The cemetery also contains the remains of African Americans from the Wiley #2 cemetery, which was relocated by the Tennessee Valley Authority as part of the effort to construct Kentucky Reservoir. The cemetery was in use from the founding of Johnsonville in 1864 until 1944.

Park personnel have used archival, historical, and archaeological methods to identify graves and associated information to manage and interpret the cemetery. With park workers and resources, as well as volunteers and donated materials, the park has created markers to identify graves.

Johnsonville State Historic Park is a day-use park named for former President Andrew Johnson, who also served as the Union military governor of Tennessee during the Civil War.

Parks that were nominated for the award in resource management had to demonstrate excellence in effective and abundant resource management activities within the park. The management activities could be both natural and cultural.

The Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence also recognized winners in other specific categories. They included Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park for customer engagement; Pickett State Park for excellence in facilities management; Warriors’ Path State Park for innovation; Pickwick Landing State Park for sustainability; and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park for interpretation. Cummins Falls State Park was named Park of the Year for overall excellence.