Tennessee State Parks Celebrates 85 Years!

May 23, 2022  |  Permalink

Join us in celebrating 85 years of protecting and preserving Tennessee's resources. On May 21, 1937, The Tennessee Public Act of 1937, also known as the “Organic Act”, was established by Governor Gordon Browning. This means that May 21st, 2022, marks the 85th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks! Over the years, the Tennessee State Park system has grown not only in size but also in heart. With 56 parks across the state home to over 1,300 miles of trails, 80+ waterfalls, five lodges, 36 campgrounds, and 372 cabins, there is something for everyone! In 2021 alone, our parks hosted 38.5 million visits. With visitation on the rise, it goes to show how valuable the Tennessee State Park system is for Tennesseans. 

“Our parks continue to provide an outstanding experience for visitors and a significant financial boost for our state and local communities,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “Tennesseans enjoy one of the best parks systems in the country, and these numbers reflect the impressive performance of our parks across the state.”

With 85 years, comes a lot of history. The number of established Tennessee State Parks has grown from zero in 1937, to 20 in 1962, and finally 56 today across the state! They all range in size, activities, amenities, and for our visitors – memories. Depression-era programs such as the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), WPA (Works Progress Administration), and TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) created some of the first Tennessee State Parks.

Over the years, the mission of Tennessee State Parks has remained the same, “to preserve and protect, in perpetuity, unique examples of natural, cultural, and scenic areas, and to provide a variety of safe, quality outdoor experiences through a well-planned and professionally managed system of state parks.” We are proud to be home to a state park system that does not charge for entry, one of only seven in the United States! We encourage you to plan your next adventure to a Tennessee State Park! Join us this year in celebrating the 85th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks with a hike on National Trails Day (June 4th), a cabin vacation, a canoe float, a Ranger-led workshop, or one of the dozens of other activities that are available to you!


As you celebrate Tennessee State Parks, be sure to take and upload photos of your adventures to your favorite social media channel and tag #TSP85 and #TNStateParks.

Looking for ways to support Tennessee State Parks?

Donate to a Park

Our parks are free for everyone to visit and enjoy. If you love a particular park, you can donate today to help us continue investing in quality programs and services. Your donations will help make your favorite park even better! We'll use the donations for things like


Donate to Trails

Love to hike, bike, or run on trails at Tennessee State Parks? Join us in our mission to protect, enhance, and construct trails at Tennessee State Parks by donating to the Trail Pack. Your generous donations provide direct funding to the Tennessee State Parks trails program, supporting the future of your favorite trails. They help us repair trail structures, purchase tools for maintenance, and enhance the education of the staff who care for our trails, and more. To say thank you, we’ll send you two free vinyl stickers that show your support.


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