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Roan Mountain State Park caps off record-breaking summer

In the business of setting trends, Roan Mountain State Park didn’t disappoint over the summer.
With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, Park Manager J.R. Tinch couldn’t help but crack a smile when recalling what the staff was able to accomplish over the summer.
“There was definitely an increase in visitation and revenue over the summer,” Tinch said. “It was another record-breaking season. I can’t say enough about the staff of the park and the support from everyone. I don’t know if it comes from the publicity from the park being named the State Park of the Year or word just getting, but every year we keep seeing growth.”
As Carter County continues to shift its focus to a tourism-driven economy, Roan Mountain State Park has unofficially taken the bull by the horns. Whether it be for the annual Rhododendron Festival, reaping the rewards of town’s recently Appalachian Trail Community status or the summer night concert series, hundreds were able to flock to the premise and receive a prime example of what Carter County has to offer.
“Expectations are high,” Tinch said. “With the park becoming so well-known, there’s pride you take in everything. Our staff is ready to continually keep up the maintenance and activities at the park to maintain a high reputation for the future.”
Naturalists will soon converge on the area this week for the 55th annual Fall Naturalists Rally. The event, sponsored by the Friends of Roan Mountain, serves as a fundraiser for conversation projects by the organization and continually support projects at the park. The park’s mainstay will be joined by a new addition at the end of the month with a Girls Outdoors (GO!) Workshop.
Scheduled to start on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 9 a.m. and conclude at noon on Sunday, Oct. 1, the workshop is aimed to provide girls, ages 12 to 15, with an “authentic experience in the great outdoor,” according to Ranger Meg Guy.
“I think that this event could be extremely influential in the lives of girls from our community,” Guy recently told the Elizabethton Star. “Much is said about increasing the numbers of women in scientific fields, and I believe that this workshop could encourage young women to explore conservation and outdoor-related fields.”
Camps and workshops are nothing out of the ordinary for the park, and another caveat for the park is the well-renown camping areas on site. Tinch added that while some areas are closed in the winter, a majority of the cabins are open year round and prove to be a hot draw for visitors.
For more on the different events at the park, visit the Roan Mountain State Park website or call 1-800-250-8620.