Let’s face it, here in Tennessee we love our state parks. And when Tennesseans were invited last month to vote for their favorite one, they rallied and raised $111,875 for them! Each vote cost $1. And with all of those votes, every state park received at least $500 in donations. That’s some serious state park love.
The biggest winners, in three categories based on annual attendance, represented all parts of the state. Paris Landing State Park on the Kentucky border west of Clarksville, with more than 750,000 annual visitors, raised $11,602. South Cumberland State Park in Monteagle, between Chattanooga and Nashville, with between 350,000 and 750,000 visitors, raised $5,602, and just northwest of Knoxville, Frozen Head State Park, between Oak Ridge and Wartburg, with less than 350,000 annual visitors, raised $6,686. (You can get a feel for the Frozen Head experience here.)
Here’s how other state parks in East Tennessee fared:
In the biggest attendance category, Big Ridge State Park raised $1,932 and Roan Mountain State Park raised $1,363. In the middle category, Norris Dam raised $3,008, Panther Creek raised $1,856, Cove Lake raised $933 and David Crockett Birthplace State Park raised $744. In the smallest category, Seven Islands raised $4,807, Fort Loudoun raised $2,000 and Sycamore Shoals raised $922.
It hasn’t yet been announced what the parks will do with the money raised, but there’s no doubt those funds will be welcomed with open arms from park admins.
Tennessee’s park system boasts of 56 state parks, five of which have lodges and 36 have campgrounds. In all there are 372 cabins within the state parks, and you can see 80 waterfalls within them. Now isn’t it time to head outside and take some time in nature? We will see you there!