The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary, and to help commemorate this important milestone, Booker T. Washington State Park will host a special Health and Recreation Fair on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Free and open to the public, the fair will include a variety of exhibits, displays and health screenings. Recreational activities will include hikes, wall climbing, canoeing, native wildlife programs and sports. Music and food will also be provided.
“We are very excited to celebrate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary this year,” said Park Manager Levan Gardner. “The Health and Recreation Fair is a great time to learn more about health and fitness and the perfect opportunity to find out what Booker T. Washington State Park has to offer.”
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,” said 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 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.
Situated on the shores of scenic Chickamauga Lake, not far from the city of Chattanooga, is the 353-acre Booker T. Washington State Park. The park is named in honor of the famous leader, Booker Taliaferro Washington. Washington was born into slavery at Hale's Ford, Virginia, but with great determination he secured an education and went on to become one of our great Americans. He is perhaps best known as a former president of the Tuskegee Institute, a black organization for higher education. For more information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/BookerTWashington.