Tennessee State Parks was recognized Tuesday as one of four finalists for the award of top state park system in the nation at the National Recreation and Park Association annual conference in Baltimore, Md.


The other finalists for the award were Florida State Parks, Maryland Park Service and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Florida State Parks won the award for best park system.


The award, part of the 2019 Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, is administered by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.


“Tennessee State Parks are a part of the fabric of Tennessee communities and are key contributors to the high quality of life our citizens enjoy,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “I want to thank Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly for their continued support.”


Agencies were judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.


“We are honored to be among the top four state park systems in the country,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson said. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our park staff across the state who work every day to create lasting outdoor experiences for our guests.”


The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation. NRPA’s mission is to advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org.


The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; encourage efforts to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; promote public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation; and conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to park and recreation administration. For more information, visit http://www.aapra.org.


For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit http://www.nrpa.org/goldmedal.