Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park Recognized for Best in Interpretation Statewide

January 31, 2017  |  Permalink

PALL MALL – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) recognized Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park for Excellence in Interpretation for park staff’s ability to provide high quality activities and tours centered around the park’s World War I history.

“All 56 Tennessee State Parks strive and succeed in achieving our mission to preserve and protect unique examples of natural, cultural and scenic areas,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill. “But Sgt. Alvin C. York went above and beyond in 2016 thanks to the talent and skills of park staff that bring history to life.”

Throughout 2016, the park worked with Tennessee State Parks’ Interpretive Programming and Education Division to renovate and staff the visitor center and provide guided tours of the York Home. The visitor center is modeled after Sgt. York's general store from the 1940s. Visitors can enjoy exhibits and interpretive panels, and meet here for daily guided tours. Since implementation in April 2016, the park has led more than 1,600 scheduled tours, reaching more than 5,000 visitors.

“Sgt. Alvin C. York is one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I and these interpretive features pay great respect to his sacrifice and that of other Tennesseans and Americans,” said Jeff Wells, director of the Interpretive Programming and Education Division. “Visitors here not only learn about the era, they get to actually experience it through realistic portrayals by our staff.”

In addition to these interpretive offerings, the park also offers an active living history program. As part of this effort, staff from several state parks have joined to construct replica WWI trenches. Utilizing this new interpretive feature, the park offered living history encampments throughout the year, including a Veterans Day Living History event in November.

The Annual Park Awards of Excellence – which honor five parks annually – were created to recognize exceptional work within Tennessee State Parks. The 2016 award winners were recognized at the Tennessee State Park annual park management conference on Jan. 17, 2017 at Montgomery Bell State Park. Parks are nominated by TDEC staff. Park Area Managers review the nominations and select finalists from each region, which are then voted on by Tennessee State Park leadership.

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Tennessee State Parks