Explore the scene below to learn how you can do your part to keep Tennessee beautiful for years to come.
Tennessee’s State Parks strive to maintain waters, lands and buildings of natural and historic significance for future generations to learn from and enjoy. Conservation programs, easements, protected natural and historic areas and inventories of existing resources support this effort. Our State Naturalist provides training to seasonal rangers and speaks to groups about outdoor Tennessee.
The Natural Heritage Inventory Program maintains a GIS database on rare plants, animals and ecological communities in Tennessee. TVA programs and the State Scenic River program help parks protect and carefully manage scenic rivers for conservation and recreation, while park staff and Friend of Parks work year-round to build and maintain trails, overlooks and recreational facilities, protect natural resources and historic sites. The National Natural Landmarks Program has established 13 such areas in Tennessee, including Reelfoot Lake, Burgess Falls, Meeman-Shelby Forest and others. Indian Mountain State Park is unique in that it was built on reclaimed strip mine land.
For more information on land, water and other conservation programs, visit specific park pages or http://www.tn.gov/environment/footprint/.
The mountains of East and Middle Tennessee are keys to those areas’ regional heritage and natural beauty, places known for their geological, botanical and scenic wonders. The rich hardwood forests of Appalachia provide habitat for diverse populations of wildlife, wildflowers and unique flora.
Parks such as Roan Mountain, Pickett, Rock Island, Fall Creek Falls, Frozen Head and others hold events and create programs to preserve the scenic beauty of the area’s mountains and gorges. The Cumberland Trail Conference works with the Tennessee Trails Association and parks such as the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park to protect the mountains and gorges that provide dramatic views and scenic hikes.
Tennessee State Parks have partnered with Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to support the Tennessee Sustainable Tourism initiative designed to preserve and protect the state’s natural beauty. The parks system works with state agencies to identify, record, protect and manage archaeological sites on state lands and with local schools and community groups to educate the public on Tennessee’s natural and historic resources.
There are many opportunities for park visitors who want to be part of the work of preserving our parks. Volunteer work days for planting, trail construction and maintenance, and the Campground Host program offer volunteer opportunities at many state parks. Friends of State Parks organizations also connect people interested in serving our parks. For more information, visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/volunteer.shtml.
The great diversity of flora and fauna in Tennessee make our state parks a great place to study and observe nature. Our parks participate in the Natural Heritage Inventory Program, which maintains a GIS database on rare plants, animals and ecological communities in Tennessee. Several parks have programs to further the work of ecologists, scientists and nature lovers throughout the world. For example, Montgomery Bell has a greenhouse for growing native plants, while Reelfoot Lake’s naturalists work to provide habitat for almost every kind of shore and wading bird, including eagles, and the diverse populations of flowering and non-flowering plants. Radnor Lake State Natural Area has an amazing abundance of wildlife, hundreds of species of wildflowers, mosses and other lesser plants for nature study and observation.
Tennessee’s State Parks participate in many programs and activities to lower the parks’ carbon footprint, reduce costs and serve the environment. The parks purchase renewable Green Power wherever TVA’s Green Power Switch is available. Major Energy investments at Henry Horton, Pinson Mounds and Sycamore Shoals are providing significant cost savings and removing more than one million pounds of greenhouse gas annually.
A few of our efforts include six parks with certified green marinas (Edgar Evins, Norris Dam, Paris Landing, Pickwick Landing, Tims Ford and Warriors’ Path). All nine state park golf courses on the Tennessee Golf Trail are certified by Audubon International for environmental and wildlife achievements and have been recognized as Groundwater Guardian sites. Montgomery Bell opened eight TVA-certified green villas, while the green cabins at David Crockett achieved LEED Silver Certification. For more information, visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/footprint/.