Many Seek the Curative Power of Tennessee State Parks
David Crockett State Park Manager Rachel Lee says RV and primitive campgrounds have been busier than ever this year, up 15% overall May through October.
All of Tennessee’s 56 state parks report higher numbers of campers during this very unusual year, according to a press release from Tennessee State Parks. In fact, camping in the last two months reached historic highs..
The parks saw 62,124 nights camping in October, a one-month record for camping stays in the system, topping the mark of 57,472 nights set in June 2020. November saw over 36,000 camping nights sold, the highest number for November ever and exceeding November 2019 by 15,000 nights.
Four of the top 10 camping months ever in the state parks have occurred in 2020, driven by visitors seeking the outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The impact of COVID-19 simply underscores a growing awareness that the outdoors are a sanctuary for mental and physical health,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “The appeal of louder, busier, and crowded entertainment venues has given way to the space, freedom and connection the outdoors provide.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated outdoor recreation trends that have steadily grown over the last several years. Statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis released recently show the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States for 2019. In Tennessee, outdoor recreation value added as a share of GDP was 2.4 percent.
July 2020 saw 56,033 camping nights sold in Tennessee State Parks, which makes June, July and October of this year the top three months ever recorded. September saw 48,350 camping nights sold, making it the sixth best month ever, following July 2019 (49,217) and October 2016 (49,003). The November total for 2020 was the overall 32nd best month ever.
Tennessee State Parks operate over 3,000 campsites ranging from RV sites with full hookups to back-country spots deep in the woods.
If you’re not a camper, remember that David Crockett State Park also offers modern, comfortable cabins that overlook Lake Lindsey. To reserve a cabin or camp space, call 931-762-9408.
You can enjoy comfortable indoor amenities at newly renovated historic cabins at four other Tennessee State Parks. All were constructed during the Depression by Americans employed by one of two New Deal programs: the Works Progress Administration (WPA) or the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – and are now equipped with new furnishings and modern kitchens and baths.
*Standing Stone State Park – Ten WPA cabins sit in the middle of 11,000 acres of forest noted for its geology and natural diversity. Located in Overton County.
*Pickett CCC Memorial Park – Five CCC-built cabins are within the 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest, adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Located in Fentress County.
*Cumberland Mountain State Park – Renovated cabins include The Mill House, which sits in front of an iconic foot bridge and rushing creek; 11 CCC cabins; and the Coon Hollow cabin, perfect for larger family gatherings. Located in Cumberland County.
*Norris Dam – Ten CCC cabins are available that underwent the careful restoration demanded by their listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Park is on Norris Reservoir and offers 800 miles of shoreline. Located in Anderson and Campbell Counties.
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