Local state parks recognized for ‘Go Green’ performance
Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Both, Roan Mountain State Park and Sycamore Shoals State Park were among the 28 of the 56 Tennessee State Parks to attain Platinum states, the highest level of achievement, in the Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation’s Go Green With Us program. It was the highest number of Platinum parks in the history of the program.
“Our state parks are going above and beyond what’s expected in environmental protection and sustainability, and we are thrilled with their performance in this program,” said Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC. “This formally recognizes our parks’ dedication to preserving the environment and to presenting the best example possible to our visitors.”
The TDEC announcement comes ahead of the annual global Earth Day on Friday, April 22.
The comprehensive Go Green With Us program, established in 2015, incorporates guidelines throughout park operations that help staff and guests become more environmentally friendly. Parks implement sustainability practices and are recognized in the spring near Earth Day. A total of 37 parks this year increased by one level in status from the last assessment in 2020, with 22 parks achieving Gold status and six Silver.
All parks recycle what is available to recycle in their counties. Other activity in the program includes replacing old water fixtures with low-volume alternatives, composting food waste, installing LED lighting in high-traffic areas, enforcing no-idle areas to reduce emissions, tracking rare, threatened and endangered species, and planting native species.
Many campgrounds are trash-can-free with conveniently located dumpsters and recycling bins. Some restaurants reduce food waste through diversion, donation and composting practices. Some parks have on-site gardens, providing seasonal herbs and vegetables to the kitchens and local communities.
Park visitors are encouraged to ask about their park’s Go Green initiative and what they can do to participate.
Other state parks in East Tennessee to receive the award included Big Ridge State Park, Booker T. Washington State Park, Cove Lake State Park, Frozen Head State Park, Harrison Bay State Park, and Seven Islands State Birding Park.