Big Cypress Tree State Park to Host Annual Fall Festival
Celebration Will Help Commemorate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary
GREENFIELD, Tenn. – The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary, and to help commemorate this important milestone, Big Cypress Tree State Park will host its annual Fall Festival, Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free and open to the public, the event will feature live music, food and crafts. In addition, visitors can view Reelfoot Lake State Park’s Birds of Prey program, a “Creatures of the Night” presentation by the Natural History Educational Company of the Midsouth and a demonstration by Pinson Mounds State Park on the prehistoric weapons and tools of Tennessee. An air-evac life team will also land and present at the festival.
“We are very excited to celebrate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary this year,” said Park Manager Bill McCall. “Our fall festival is a great way for families to celebrate the season while learning more about local history and our great state parks.”
The UT-Martin Ecology Club will feature plants and study “skins” from the lab, in addition to leading hikes in the park. UT-Martin’s geology instructor, Eleanor Gardner, also will display different types of rocks, minerals and fossils while providing activities for children. Those activities will include measuring the stride of a dinosaur’s footprints, coloring fossil pages and sifting through material from the fossil-rich Coon Creek site located in McNairy County.
Also making an appearance will be Tennessee State Parks’ new traveling anniversary exhibit, which hit the road this year to tour state parks and various communities – sharing Tennessee State Parks’ rich and storied history. Enclosed in a colorful trailer emblazoned with various images and logos, the exhibit interprets the origins and heritage of Tennessee’s state park system.
The Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937, and those laws – with modifications and additions over the years – remain the framework for park operations today. As in most states, Tennessee began in cooperation with federal programs that instigated individual parks. Later, Depression era recovery programs gave a boost to the idea and the possibility of creating parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration worked on land conservation, but also delved further into the actual planning and construction of what would become the first of 54 Tennessee State Parks.
Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in Tennessee. A 2009 University of Tennessee study highlights the positive economic impacts that state parks provide local communities, particularly in rural areas of the state. The study found that for every dollar spent on trips to Tennessee State Parks, an additional $1.11 of economic activity was generated throughout the state. When the direct and indirect expenditures were combined, the impact of Tennessee State Parks to the state’s economy was $1.5 billion in total industry output, supporting more than 18,600 jobs.
“Our vision statement highlights the inherent value of our natural environment, along with the value of the many physical reminders of Tennessee’s past,” added Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “Tennessee’s state parks have played such an important role in our history, and they play a critical role in our health and quality of life, which will benefit Tennesseans well into the future.”
Tennessee’s state parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, wild places, preserved ecologies, outdoor recreational opportunities and protected historic scenes and resources – together representing the heritage of Tennessee in the landscape.
Tennessee's 54 state parks and 82 state natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For upcoming events in connection with the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, please visit the state parks website at www.tnstateparks.com.
In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation launched an innovative new microsite at www.tnstateparks75.com. Established in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the microsite displays Tennessee State Parks’ rich heritage and showcases the many outdoor adventures awaiting state park visitors through rich media and dynamic content.
Covering 330 acres, Big Cypress Tree is a natural area that lies in the floodplain of the Middle Fork of the Obion River in West Tennessee. Located in the natural area, Big Cypress Tree State Park covers 27 acres and provides a clean, peaceful park where visitors can relax and enjoy nature such as a variety of plant life ranging from native wild flowers to native trees. The showy evening primrose, Black-eyed Susans, yellow poplar, bald cypress and dogwood can be found at the park. Big Cypress is named for the national champion bald cypress tree that once lived in the park, which is the largest bald cypress in the U.S. and the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River. For more information about Big Cypress, please visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/BigCypress/.