Roan Mountain joins other state parks in Promise weekend

Published 8:01 am Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Later this month, students needing to clock some volunteer hours for the Tennessee Promise scholarship program will be able to not only earn their time, they will also get the satisfaction of knowing they helped make their local state park a better place.
On July 18, Roan Mountain State Park will join more than 50 state parks across Tennessee in promoting Tennessee Promise Saturday, an opportunity for students to help make improvements to the parks while working to meet their scholarship requirements.
At Roan Mountain State Park, the volunteers will be working alongside park staff to convert the parks old restaurant building into an environmental classroom.
“If we can’t do something outside this will give us a place to do things indoors, like on rainy days,” Park Manager Ranger J.R. Tinch said. “It was an old restaurant so it is pretty much one big room, so it’s perfect for a classroom.”
Creating the classroom will provide the park with a permanent space to hold interpretive programs indoors, something the park does not currently have.
“If it rains right now we move to a picnic shelter or the conference center, but a lot of times the conference center is already rented out,” Tinch said. “Utilizing the old restaurant makes use of that building instead of letting it get dilapidated and it also provides us with a place to hold programs.”
Volunteers will be helping to clean up the old restaurant and will also be painting, so Tinch suggests participants “dress to get dirty” and wear clothes they won’t mind getting paint on or stained.
“If we have a lot of people that come up, we may send some to do a Doe River Rescue and clean up around the river where it runs through the park,” Tinch said.
While the event is geared toward students working on their volunteer hours for the Tennessee Promise scholarship program, the event is open to anyone in the community age 16 and older.
Participants are asked to pack a lunch, snacks and drinking water for the day. Volunteers will meet at Park Headquarters at 9:30 a.m. and will work until 3 p.m. with a lunch break around Noon.
Those wishing to volunteer are asked to RSVP to the park so staff can plan for the number of volunteers and also to make it easier for the park to volunteer hours worked information on behalf of the students. Volunteers may RSVP by calling Roan Mountain State Park at 423-772-0190.

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