Our department seeks to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work and play through the operation of state parks and natural areas. Our state park system achieves multiple purposes for Tennessee and its citizens:
- To preserve and conserve natural, aesthetic, cultural and historic resources;
- To provide opportunities for Tennesseans to enjoy a diverse array of outdoor recreational activities and provide affordable vacation experiences; and
- To help grow the state’s tourism business and promote local economic development.
Business & Management Plans (BMP)
Just like there are multiple purposes for the state park system, we have a wide variety of park types across Tennessee. There is no “one size fits all” strategy for park management, and all parks cannot provide all services. The diversity of operations requires that park leadership have a clear picture of the management philosophy of the organization as a whole and understand the importance of individual sites within the larger system. To that end, we have developed a business and management plan that will articulate more clearly a vision for state parks and a road map to fulfill that vision. This plan seeks to manage our state parks with an emphasis on principles like efficiency, customer service, return on investment, revenue enhancement and effective stewardship of Tennessee’s conservation assets and taxpayers’ dollars.
To support this overall strategy, we have also been evaluating each state park and their contribution to the parks mission through individual Business & Management Plans (BMP).
In order to develop these individual Business & Management Plans, we have issued park user surveys for each location, and those results are being made part of each park’s BMP. Additionally, public input hearings began in Fall 2014 and will continue through May 2015 to gauge public interest and support for individual parks. This process will also enable us to learn what programs and services are most important to visitors when selecting a state park to visit. State law (TCA 11-3-120) requires these public input hearings should be held every five years and directs gathering input in the following areas:
- Funding requirements for state parks and an analysis of whether the revenue-generating facilities on the park are self-sustaining
- Facilities preservation, maintenance and utilization
- Management and personnel staffing, training, compensation and professional development
- Preservation, development and expansion of existing and new park resources and facilities
- Educational programming
- Land acquisition