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Press Releases

Campfires Banned in State Parks

Press release from Department of Environment & Conservation; June 29, 2012:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Parks system is issuing a temporary ban on backcountry campfires in all state parks due to dry weather conditions that could increase the potential for wildfire hazards. The backcountry campfire ban is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.

In coordination with the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry efforts, this burn ban serves as an additional measure to ensure the safety of campers and to protect the parks’ forested areas. Campers will still be able to build campfires and use charcoal to cook their meals, as long as they are inside an appropriate fire ring or designated grill area in designated campground facilities (not in backcountry areas).

“Dry weather conditions continue throughout the state and humidity remains very low,” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “We want to take every precaution necessary to protect people and land.”

Tennessee State Parks management team encourages all state park visitors to immediately report a fire or what could be a potential fire danger to 911. If a Tennessee State Parks’ office or ranger station is nearby, also report to these appropriate locations.

Tennessee State Parks also offers several basic fire safety tips for park visitors:

  • Use designated areas – Campfires in Tennessee State Parks must be contained within designated grills or fire grates. No backcountry campfires are allowed at this time.
  • Be responsible – Never leave a fire unattended, even for a minute. Don’t allow children and pets near the campfire and never leave them unsupervised. Be aware that smoking poses a fire danger. Do not throw cigarettes on the ground or dispose in a flammable container.
  • Play it safe – Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby. Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire. After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold.
  • Do it right the first time – Learn how to safely start a fire. Never use flammable liquids to ignite or keep your fire burning. This means avoid gasoline, diesel fuel, lighter fluid and other dangerous fuels.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – Avoid starting a fire underneath low-hanging branches or shrubbery. Fires can often flame higher than you anticipate. Keep your fire away from anything flammable, such as dry grass, tents, paper plates, napkins and camping gear.
  • Watch the weather – Be aware that hot embers can re-ignite the fire if strong winds are present.
  • No fireworks – Fireworks of any kind are prohibited within the Tennessee State Parks system, except public displays approved by Tennessee State Parks officials in partnership with local government.
  • Put it out – Make sure your campfire is completely extinguished before leaving a campsite or before bedtime. Always have on hand things to put out your fire such as water, a shovel and a fire extinguisher.

Tennessee’s 54 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our website at www.tnstateparks.com.

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Press Releases

Public Input Sought on Tims Ford Management Plan

State of Tennessee Press Release, Feb 16, 2012:

Community Meeting Slated for Monday, March 5

WINCHESTER, Tenn. – Tims Ford State Park will hold a community meeting on Monday, March 5, 2012, to discuss Tennessee State Parks’ current land management practices, which allow hunting on a portion of Tims Ford State Park property. Beginning at 7 p.m., the meeting will be held at the park’s recreation building and is open to the public.

“We are currently reviewing these land management practices and wanted to invite local citizens to the March 5 meeting, which is designed to be both informative and to solicit community input,” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “Our main priority is to ensure Tims Ford State Park continues to be a safe and enjoyable destination for a wide variety of visitors.”

The policy review gives Tennessee State Parks an opportunity to re-evaluate its hunting policy, while offering the general public a chance to voice their concerns and ask questions pertaining to the current land management practices.

Dedicated in 1978, Tims Ford is a relatively new state park that now manages nearly 3,000 acres on the Tims Ford Reservoir, including six islands, the Fairview Campground and seven public access areas around the reservoir. As part of the Tims Ford Reservoir Land Management and Disposition Plan, more than 2,000 acres have been added to Tims Ford State Park since 2000. A new visitor center was designed with the park’s growth in mind, providing a better-equipped facility to meet increased visitation and community needs.

Tims Ford State Park, located on the Tims Ford Reservoir in the rolling hills of southern middle Tennessee, is an outstanding recreational area and fishing paradise. Long before the construction of Tims Ford Dam on the headwaters of the Elk River, the area was used extensively by the Indians as a hunting and fishing territory. Archaeological excavations uncovered numerous artifacts and occupational sites, indicating that man had occupied the area as much as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

The park is located off of Highway 50, west of Winchester, Tenn. For more information about Tims Ford State Park, including directions to the park, please visit: www.tnstateparks.com/TimsFord or call (931) 962-1183.

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Press Releases

Saturday is ‘Tennessee Trails Day’

Press Release from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, June 2, 2011:

Several State Parks and Natural Areas to Mark Event with Volunteer Activities and Hikes

NASHVILLE – In conjunction with National Trails Day, Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed Saturday, June 4, Tennessee Trails Day – encouraging Tennesseans to join in several activities at Tennessee State Parks and Natural Areas.

“The state’s greenways and trails not only provide many benefits to Tennesseans, they attract visitors from around the world – contributing to Tennessee’s tourism industry and providing economic support to our communities,” said Haslam. “Tennessee Trails Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate those who have provided countless volunteer hours to create and maintain the trails we enjoy every day.”

The Tennessee celebration coincides with the American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day, which began in 1993 and is the largest single-day trails and outdoor celebration in the country. Thousands of people are expected to get outside and participate in events at local, state and national parks, forests and other public lands from coast to coast.

“The department’s Resource Management Division and Tennessee State Parks will be offering a wide variety of interesting activities across the state, including trail restoration, cleanup efforts and several guided scenic and birding hikes,” added Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Our main focus is to engage Tennesseans in appreciating and enjoying these public areas.”

For a complete schedule of events and hike details, please visit the Tennessee State Park’s website at www.tnstateparks.com/events/trailsday. Please also find attached a complete listing of these planned activities.

All events are scheduled for Saturday, June 4, and all times are local. Participants should bring water and food, and wear long pants, sturdy and appropriate footwear and work gloves. While most tools will be provided, some projects will require volunteers to bring specific items. Some activities require reservations, so please call to ensure an opportunity to participate.

Tennessee’s 53 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com.

Tennessee also has 81 designated State Natural Areas throughout the state, covering approximately 120,000 acres of ecologically significant lands. More information about Tennessee’s Natural Areas Program, including a complete list of all natural areas and scheduled field trips, can be found at www.tn.gov/environment/na/.

Since 1993, the American Hiking Society has set aside the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day, bringing together outdoor enthusiasts to participate in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail projects. It also provides an opportunity to recognize the many volunteers, land managing agencies and outdoor-minded businesses for their support in developing and maintaining trails.