Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park

Nathan Bedford Forrest Go Green

Thursday, January 30, 2020

CONTACT: Kim Schofinski
(615) 350-3431


NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has honored Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in Eva as the winner of the 2019 Excellence in Sustainability Award for Tennessee State Parks.

Parks nominated in the sustainability category for the awards are those that have demonstrated exceptional sustainability measures throughout their park or within a specific operation of the park. Sustainability includes a wide variety of activities including but not limited to energy conservation, recycling, waste reduction, water conservation, local purchasing, reduction in consumption, reuse, organic and native gardening, use of recycled products, reduction of chemicals, and more.

“Sustainability is a priority for TDEC, and Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has been a leader worthy of recognition,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC, said. “We are proud of the staff at the park for its commitment in this area, and we are pleased to present the park with this award.”

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has worked to improve sustainability since the implementation of the Tennessee State Parks GoGreen program as well as through EnergyCap software. This has culminated in an annual cost-reduction of nearly $60,000 as compared to 2016 data, despite rising utility rates. That is a 43.5 percent reduction in utility expenses in only three years.

The park has upgraded all park lighting to LEDs, replaced all high-use bathroom fixtures with waterless and low-flow units, replaced all park HVAC units with a 16 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and above, and replaced a large electric boiler in the Group Lodge with three gas tankless water heaters. The environmental footprint has been greatly diminished with energy use dipping from 1.6 million Btu per area to a .19 Btu per area. The park has also increased efforts toward sustainable resource management by planting trees including American Chestnuts and hybrids, maintaining a hive of honey bees as pollinators, and producing sorghum to help interpret how agriculture impacts nature.  

The Tennessee State Park Awards were created to recognize excellent work in the parks and are overseen by the Park Area Managers. Parks and Conservation directors vote on the awards, which are presented annually in January at an award ceremony during a parks management conference. Categories for the awards include facilities management, innovation, interpretation, resource management, and sustainability.

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has been honored with the Excellence in Sustainability Award for Tennessee State Parks by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. From the left are Ryan Forbess, area manager; TDEC Commissioner David Salyers; John Johnsonius, park manager; Mike Robertson, parks director; and Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner.

Gold Award Winner

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Historic Park has completed the Gold Recognition Level of the TN State Parks Go Green With Us Initiative and Guidelines. The guidelines include multiple areas of environmental sustainability, including education and outreach, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste and recycling, and much more. Congrats to this park for going above and beyond to be excellent stewards of our natural resources.

The mission of the Tennessee State Parks Go Green With Us program is to preserve and protect our state parks through sustainable park operations, resource conservation, and recycling. Program components cover a diverse array of initiatives, including energy and water conservation through equipment and operations upgrades, recycling programs, projects to enhance ecosystem health, and erosion control, among many others.

  • Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park’s visitor’s center has a reflective window film that reflects sunlight keeping the building cool and the energy costs down. The film is transparent and doesn’t change the view out the window.
  • All park facilities now feature LED lighting.
  • The visitor’s center has replaced both HVAC systems (16 SEER).
  • Tankless water heaters have been worked into our replacement schedule and are already in use in some areas. We also added underpinning to reduce draft and increase heating and cooling efficiency.
  • Each air-conditioned cabin has a 16 SEER or better HVAC system.
  • Park restrooms all have sensor-activated sinks, hand dryers, and toilets. Occupancy sensors and waterless urinals have also been incorporated to enhance efficiency.
  • The park is part of the TVA’s Green Power Switch.
  • The park tracks park-wide energy use to identify areas for improvement.
  • We have Bearsaver recycling bins available for use throughout the park.
  • Worked with certified energy manager to reduce energy costs and use
  • Maintains habitat boxes for Bats, birds, owls, wood duck and snakes
  • Participates in the TN State Parks Honey Project
  • Reused materials to eliminate trash and waste products, upcycling
  • Participated in TVA water quality training
  • Replaced mowed areas with native grass fields