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Big Ridge State Park’s Annual Bluegrass Festival Slated for August 17

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 | 10:21am

Celebration Will Help Commemorate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary 

MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. – The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary and to help commemorate this important milestone, Big Ridge State Park will host the 31st Annual Bluegrass Festival on Friday, August 17.  

“Our annual Bluegrass Festival is a great opportunity to thank the park’s many patrons and the entire local community for their support throughout the years and invite community members to see what the park has to offer,” said Park Manager John Howell.  “Once again, we will have a talented roster of musicians, along with some fun activities.  We hope everyone can come out Friday afternoon and join us for this family-friendly event.”   

In addition to live Bluegrass music, the park will stage a number of cultural demonstrations and activities in celebration of Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary.  There will be crafts and food available for purchase.  Activities will begin at 4 p.m. with music beginning at 7 p.m.   

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. 

The heavily forested, 3,687-acre park lies on the southern shore of TVA's Norris Reservoir approximately 25 miles north of Knoxville. Visitors to the park will find a wealth of activities to meet any interest from guided nature tours to backcountry camping. Big Ridge State Park was one of five demonstration parks developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps as an example of public recreation development along TVA lakeshores. The structures on the park reflect the craftsmanship and stonework of the CCC.  Other notable features of the park include the Norton Gristmill built in 1825, remnants of Sharp's Station Fort construction in the late 1700s, and Indian Rock where a plaque commemorates the death of Peter Graves, a settler of Sharp's Station who was attacked by Indians at this spot.    

For more information or directions to Big Ridge State Park, please visit www.tnstateparks/BigRidge or call (865) 992-5523.   

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