Tennessee State Parks Compete for National Award

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 | 07:00pm

Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee State Parks is one of three finalists competing nationally for the 2007 Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in the state parks category. Gold Medal Awards are presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.

“Tennesseans and visitors to our state have the opportunity to enjoy one of the best state parks systems in the country, and I’m proud to see Commissioner Jim Fyke and his team of dedicated parks professionals receive the recognition they deserve from their peers,” said Governor Phil Bredesen.

Tennessee has 54 state parks and 75 natural areas with a wide range of recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking and swimming, golf, boating, whitewater rafting, and more. The state parks system includes resort parks with inns, conference centers and restaurants. Tennessee State Parks and natural areas also play an important role in environmental protection of ecologically significant land and preservation of historic sites.

“I am equally as proud to work for Governor Bredesen, whose leadership continues to be instrumental in protecting lands with ecological, scenic, historic and cultural significance for the enjoyment of future generations of Tennesseans,” said Fyke, Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation, which oversees Tennessee State Parks.

In grading award entries, judges look at long-range planning, resource management, citizen support systems, environmental stewardship, program and professional development and agency recognition. State parks systems are judged every two years and Tennessee was also a finalist for the Gold Medal Award in 2005.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in Tennessee State Parks in the two years since we were last recognized,” said Fyke. “Warriors’ Path State Park just unveiled a Boundless Playground for children of all abilities, a project made possible with the support of a wide array of community organizations and individual partners. Governor Bredesen also proposed and the General Assembly approved some key budget improvements last year that allowed us to remove park access fees and to acquire some properties with exceptional conservation value from Bowater for their long-term protection.”

The North Cumberlands conservation plan that Bredesen has proposed in the FY2007-2008 budget would protect approximately 124,000 additional acres of biologically-rich land on the Cumberland Plateau, providing an additional 40,000 acres for hunting and fishing, protecting important forests, mountains and streams and adding Love and Bird Mountains to Frozen Head State Park.

A panel of five parks and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials. In addition to Tennessee, state parks systems in Georgia and Utah are Gold Medal Finalists. The national award winner will be announced at NRPA’s annual conference in September.

For more information about the Gold Medal Awards, visit NRPA’s Web site at: http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=4473.

To learn more about what’s available at Tennessee State Parks visit the Web site at www.tnstateparks.com. To book your stay at a cabin, park inn or campground, call 1-866-836-6757.

Press Releases | Environment & Conservation