The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), has announced Tennessee State Parks as a finalist for the 2019 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program for over 10 years.
Tennessee State Parks is one of only two state park systems in the nation to receive accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). In recent years, the state has also acquired significant acres for protection. All park rangers are certified interpretive guides, and every park has expanded sustainability practices – including adding more recycling bins and composting food waste. Tennessee State Parks continues to celebrate record visitation and is one of only seven state parks systems that do not charge an admission fee.
Tennessee State Parks joins three other finalists in the state parks category: Florida State Parks, Maryland Park Service and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
In Northeast Tennessee, a handful of state parks are available to the public: Sycamore Shoals State Park, Rocky Fork, Warriors Path and Roan Mountain State Park.
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials. A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials.
This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Sept. 24–26, 2019.