Booker T. Washington State Park is named in honor of the famous leader, Booker Taliaferro Washington. Born into slavery and freed by the age of nine, Washington fought throughout his life to earn a higher education. Washington’s dedication earned him a scholarship into Hampton Normal Agriculture Institute for Freedman in Hampton, Va. He is best known for being former president of the Tuskegee Institute, a black organization for higher education. Washington strongly believed that agriculture and vocational education was the key to advance a newly freed race to a better life and not the pursuit of civil rights.
Situated on the shores of scenic Chickamauga Lake, not far from the city of Chattanooga, is the 353-acre Booker T. Washington State Park. Many visitors enjoy the phenomenal scenery through the challenging, yet rewarding, six-mile mountain biking trail. The park is also equipped with an Olympic size swimming pool that includes a diving board and children’s wading pool. The park has three large picnic pavilions, each accommodating up to 60 people (reserved up to two years in advance) as well as the more than 30 individual picnic sites located throughout the park. Each picnic site is equipped with grills and water spigots nearby.