Tennessee state parks open and welcoming visitors

Published 2:26 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

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All 56 Tennessee state parks are open and serving visitors, with numerous events and activities scheduled across the state in the coming days and weeks.
Whether it’s through a weekend visit, or attendance at an event or just a hike, this is a great time of year to enjoy our state parks.
Tennessee state parks feature 372 cabins, 36 campgrounds, 1,100 miles of trails and more than 80 waterfalls.
Roan Mountain State Park has both cabins and a campground as well as nature and hiking trails. Sycamore Shoals State Historical Area in Elizabethton also includes the Historic Carter Mansion and Sabine Hill, home of the Taylor family. We are fortunate to have two state parks in our midst.
Sycamore Shoals State Park is home to Tennessee’s outdoor drama “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals,” which is scheduled to take the stage this June. The show had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic as did many other events at the park.
Various events at the park include informative speakers, outings, night hikes, star gazing, strolls along the Watauga River, birding, music events, and workshops.
Interpretive programming gives Tennessee State Parks a competitive edge in outdoor recreation. A steady stream of roughly 1 million visitors each year attends one of more than 20,000 interpretive programs offered at state parks statewide. All Tennessee State Parks rangers are now certified by the National Association of Interpretation, making Tennessee the only state park system in the nation to have achieved that status.
Roan Mountain State Park will host the annual Spring Naturalists Rally Saturday, April 24, which has been modified this year to one day instead of the usual three-day event, with no evening events or meals.
However, there will be a bunch of field trips to study birds, owls, snakes, salamanders, and wildlife. There will be nature photography hikes, ecology exploration, and other hikes just planned to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Weekends this month at Sycamore Shoals State Park include a full moon hike April 26 and an Earth Day hike April 21.
Today, a celebration is taking place at the Carter Mansion, which will include living history reenactments, demonstrations and local craftsmen.
There’s a lot to do at our state parks, not only here in Carter County, but all across the state. No two parks are alike, so set a goal to get out and see a variety of state park properties this year.
State parks and recreation areas provide sites where individuals, families, and larger groups can go for outdoor recreation. State historical parks include historical preservation with an emphasis on the development of Tennessee’s cultural character and reenactments portraying life as it was during the state’s beginning.
State parks are a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and to learn something new. We encourage you to take time this spring to visit one of the state parks in our area and celebrate local history and the great outdoors.

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