Bredesen Outlines Vision for Future of State Parks System

Monday, October 16, 2006 | 07:00pm

Nashville – Governor Phil Bredesen today outlined his vision for the future of Tennessee’s state parks system, which includes creating a new Tennessee State Park, building a rustic lodge restoring existing facilities.

“Our Tennessee State Park system has come a long way, and now it’s time to start planning for what comes next to make our state parks even more attractive to Tennesseans and visitors,” Bredesen said. “I want us to begin planning now for what our state landscape will look like in 15 or 20 years, when generations of Tennesseans will be able to enjoy the investments we have made.”

Bredesen traveled Tuesday to Hamilton County, where he called on the state departments of Environment and Conservation, Economic and Community Development and Tourism to make recommendations for building a rustic lodge in the Ocoee River region of southeast Tennessee. The Ocoee Region, with its wealth of outdoor recreational and eco-tourism opportunities, has been identified as an ideal area for an architecturally and environmentally significant building. The lodge would be modeled in the style of National Parks Service facilities.

“I believe a state parks lodge would enhance the exciting things already taking place in this region and continue to boost the tourism industry in southeast Tennessee,” Bredesen said. “This lodge could also serve as a model for the development of future park inns and lodges that are designed to take their inspiration from natural landscapes.”

Bredesen also traveled to Williamson County to outline his parks vision for Middle Tennessee. There, he directed Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke to identify a location for a new Tennessee State Park. The park will most likely be built in Williamson, Maury or Hickman County, where natural scenery, history and culture and rapid growth are abundant.

“Just as Radnor Lake State Park has become an oasis in a heavily developed portion of Davidson County, I want to begin the process now to identify and preserve a special place in Middle Tennessee where Tennesseans will be able to walk, ride and enjoy the beauty that defines this region of the state.”

Bredesen also outlined plans for the state’s park system in West Tennessee, where existing assets must be cared for and restored. To begin this process, Bredesen has set a focus on Pickwick Landing and Reelfoot Lake State Parks. At Pickwick Landing, Bredesen plans to raze an old and unused inn, whose attractiveness and safety has declined over the years, replacing it with cabins designed to fit into the natural landscape. At Reelfoot Lake, Bredesen plans to refurbish the boardwalk and inn rooms located over the water for the future enjoyment of Tennesseans.

“In addition to setting plans for growth and expansion, we also need to renew our focus on taking care of what we’ve got,” Bredesen said. “We’ll start with these two projects in West Tennessee and continue to look across the state to evaluate needs and prioritize projects.”

For more information about Tennessee State Parks, visit

For more information contact:

Lydia Lenker, Governor’s Office
Office (615) 741-3763
Cell (615) 289-9375

Dana Coleman, TDEC
Office (615) 253-1916

Tisha Calabrese-Benton, TDEC
Office (865) 594-5442

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