Tenn. Parks Offer Online Reservations

March 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on Tenn. Parks Offer Online Reservations 

Tennessee state parks on Wednesday (March 20) unveiled its new customer-friendly campground reservation system, offering visitors the ability to reserve campsites at 35 state parks up to one year in advance of their planned stay, The Chattanoogan reported.

Reservations can be made online, by visiting the park’s office or by calling an individual park during regular business hours.

“Traditionally, campers have had to rely on obtaining their favorite camping spot on a first-come, first-served basis,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner Bob Martineau. “With the new reservation service, visitors will be offered more ease and convenience when it comes to their park stay.”

To check availability and reserve campsites online or via phone, visit for a complete list of available campgrounds and phone numbers or visit the online site directly at Campers can select the state park they wish to visit, arrival/departure dates, and their preferred campsite. Visitors may reserve up to five sites per reservation.

The online system features a campground map, offering photos and prices for each individual campsite. Tennessee state parks’ campsites are very popular, so campers are encouraged to check availability through the new online system or by calling the park before departing on a trip.

“Campers who enjoy using state park campsites have requested an advance reservations system for many years, as well as online capabilities,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “The implementation of this great, new system is just one of the many ways we are providing additional or upgraded services to our customers. We wanted to make it easier for our visitors to make their plans, while adding an additional layer of customer-focused service for our guests.”

Tennessee state parks implemented the program using a phased approached, beginning in late 2012 to ensure the appropriate training could take place and any issues or concerns could be addressed before formally launching the new reservation system. Over the course of the last several months, state parks have been gradually added to the roster.

The new campground reservation system joins several new initiatives launched by TDEC over the last two years for park visitors on the go, including the Tennessee State Parks 75th Anniversary microsite, a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based recreation “finder,” and the new Tennessee State Parks Pocket Ranger mobile phone application.

Hill added that online reservations for inns and some cabins have been available for visitors for several years, but adding the campground system was one that required a bit more effort in terms of program design and operations.

After a competitive bidding process, Arizona-based Rev’d Up Inc. was selected to build and host the new campground reservation system and will continue overseeing the project as part of a five-year contract. A minimal $3 reservation fee (per campsite reserved) was added as part of the overall implementation and will help offset costs of the new system.

“Charging fees for campsites is really an industry standard and are either identified as an actual reservation fee or the fee is absorbed in the overall costs of a particular campsite,” said Mr. Hill. “Camping at Tennessee State Parks is still a bargain with prices for traditional campgrounds ranging from $14 for sites without electrical or water hookups to $25 for full hookups.”

Tennessee’s 54 state parks and 82 state natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 888 867-2757. For upcoming events at Tennessee State Parks, please visit the state parks website at

Tennessee State Parks Offering Mobile App

February 19, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has partnered with the Parks by Nature Network to launch the Tennessee State Parks Pocket Ranger, a free iPhone and Android application for park visitors on the move.

“With more than 31 million visits annually, Tennessee’s 54 state parks serve as popular destinations year round,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “This new mobile app will give those ‘on-the-go’ park goers and nature enthusiasts the ability to access valuable park information quickly and efficiently, while providing an additional level of outstanding customer service.” reported that in addition to Tennessee’s state parks, the free mobile app includes interactive information on Tennessee’s historic sites, state park golf courses and campgrounds. The Pocket Ranger app is designed to provide everything a visitor would need to become familiar with a property, including contacts, directions, available amenities, maps, events and links to important numbers and services. Information is updated regularly and users can search by GPS location or a desired activity to find nearby locations for hiking, camping, boating, birding, golfing and more. GPS maps can be cached in advance to ensure that navigation remains possible in the event of lost mobile reception or limited access.

Once a visitor arrives at a chosen destination, advanced GPS and GIS mapping technology allows them to track and record all trails, mark waypoints, locate friends inside the park, and even play games using the app’s GeoChallenge. Other features that will maximize your Tennessee State Parks adventure include a built-in compass, interpretative educational information, calendar of events, news and advisories and weather alerts. The app’s social media function and photo sharing allows users to post photos and share experiences with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter, inspiring others to get outdoors.

“More and more individuals are utilizing smart phones to access information and Tennessee State Parks’ new Pocket Ranger app is a great use of technology, providing accurate and up-to-date information to explore what our great state parks have to offer,” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “We want to thank our partners at the Parks by Nature Network who developed this resource at no cost to the taxpayers and free to the public to download.”

The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

January 15, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 


One of the mini lodges at Ponca State Park in Nebraska.

From The Associated Press:

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has set up Super Bowl Special packages at Ponca State Park in northeast Nebraska.

The one- and two-night mini lodge stays are available Feb. 2-3 at a discounted rate of $189 a night, not including tax and reservation fee.

A two-night stay includes two free pizzas, five bundles of firewood and late checkout. A one-night stay includes a free pizza and two bundles of firewood.

Each mini lodge has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, dining table, a fully equipped kitchen, a 42-inch television, wireless Internet and linen and towel service. Each also has a deck, gas grill, fire pit and picnic table.


From The Chattanoogan, Chatanooga:

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Monday (Jan. 14) the launch of its new Geographic Information System (GIS)-based site that provides up-to-date interactive maps and information about recreational opportunities at Tennessee State Parks and natural areas. Plans also are under way to incorporate GIS information about state historical and archaeological sites in the future.

The new application offers an easily navigable portal to access a map of TDEC-managed lands. This GIS-based internet mapping system has been integrated into TDEC’s existing infrastructure to provide a wealth of geospatial information, including core GIS tools, templates and applications. These new interactive maps and layers also are designed to help TDEC improve operations and communicate more effectively with the public, while saving both time and money.

Click here to read the entire story.


From the Williston Herald:

A cooking fire  destroyed an RV at the Fox Run RV Park north of Williston on Jan. 10, weeks after another fire demolished another RV at the same park last month.

One resident who was home at the time was able to get out of the RV in time.

“She had trouble getting the fire extinguisher off the wall bracket,” First Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Myers said, “which could have otherwise possibly mitigated damage.”

Myers said the camper’s walls are still standing, but the inside is a total loss.

“You look at the outside shell – it looks like it’s brand new,” he said. “It just totally destroyed the inside.”


From the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily:

The James City County Planning Commission voted unanimously on Jan. 9 to recommend approval of the rezoning application and special-use permit for Jamestown Beach to the Board of Supervisors.

A Master Plan for Jamestown Beach Campground, Jamestown Yacht Basin and Chickahominy Riverfront Park was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in June 2009, which outlined need for various improvements at the three locations. The rezoning application and a special use permit for a community recreation facility were sought from the Planning Commission to start the improvements.

Click here to read the entire story. 


2012 a Record Year in Tennessee State Parks

December 17, 2012 by · Comments Off on 2012 a Record Year in Tennessee State Parks 

Tennessee’s state park system turned 75 this year, and if visitation is any indicator, the yearlong celebration has been a resounding success.

An estimated 31 million people visited Tennessee’s 54 parks in 2012, the Knoxville Sentinel reported.

According to Brock Hill, Tennessee’s deputy commissioner for parks and conservation, that’s a 1 million increase over last year.

Click here to read the entire story.


The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

November 19, 2012 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From the Harrison Daily News:

The National Park Service has scaled back some of the winter closures that were announced two weeks ago at the Buffalo National River.

The park service said Nov. 16 that offers for help by volunteers helped sway the decision on closures.

The park had announced a plan to close developed campgrounds and restrict other access for the season.

The newspaper reported that some campgrounds will remain closed but others will be open.

Officials say that visitors will have to pack out their trash as many garbage bins will be locked because a lack of resources for emptying them. Restrooms will be cleaned less frequently.

Facilities to be closed include Kyles Landing, Erbie Campground, all sites at Tyler Bend and Shine Eye.


From the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press:

John James Audubon State Park and some of its best friends were honored Nov. 14 in Frankfort, Ky., at the annual Kentucky Recreation & Parks Society’s Awards Lunch.

The park received the award for “Outstanding State Park of the Year for 2012,” and the Audubon Wetlands Group — the group that acquired the 649 acres of wetlands that will ultimately double the size of the state park — won a “Special Citation” for their purchase and development of the wetlands in support of Audubon State Park.

Audubon State Park General Manager Mark Kellen, Business Manager Beth Tompkins, and Robbie Williams and Scott Keach representing the Audubon Wetlands Group, attended the luncheon to accept the awards.

“We’re very excited the Audubon Wetlands Group was recognized by KRPS for all their hard work and contribution to our community,” Kellen said. “We’re also excited to win Outstanding State Park again for the third time in four years. This wouldn’t be possible without the continued support of the Friends of Audubon, our volunteers and our wonderful staff.”


From The Associated Press:

Tennessee state parks are offering special winter rates for 360 villas and cabins.

The discount, which also includes six state park inns, began Nov. 15 and lasts through March 15, 2013.

The special rate allows park visitors to stay at one of Tennessee’s six state park inns for $54.95 a night, excluding tax.

The inn discount can be used seven days a week and applies to both individuals and groups. A 50% discount also is being offered for villas and cabins with a two-night minimum stay.



The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

September 7, 2012 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 



The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary, and to help commemorate this important milestone, Bledsoe Creek State Park will host a special music festival on Saturday.  This event is free and open to the public.

“We are very excited to celebrate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary this year,” said Park Manager Wayne Bomar. “The music festival is a great time to gather with friends, enjoy a day of music and it is the perfect opportunity to thank the Friends of Bledsoe Creek State Park for all their hard work and support.”

Featuring a repertoire of contemporary, gospel and folk, musical guests will include Garcia and Scott, Rick and Penny Roark of Union Hill, Day Seven and Flatbroke – a band whose roster includes several of Tennessee State Parks’ own park rangers and staff.

There will be a variety of concessions available to guests, along with a fund-raising auction and a special commemorative birthday cake. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of Bledsoe Creek and the park’s ongoing programming and special events.

From SurfKY News, Madisonville, Ky.:

The Piney Campground will host the 39th Annual Camper’s Fair, Sept. 19-23. Piney Campground is located in Tennessee on the south end of Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area.

Piney Campground is open to the public at no admission fee, Saturday, Sept. 22, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., for the open house. Area dealers will provide displays of camping equipment, RVs and boats. Campers can bring arts and crafts to display at the flea market. Campers wishing to participate in the displays need to notify Piney Campground gatehouse staff upon entering the campground.

“The Camper’s Fair is a great way to celebrate the end of summer,” said Derrick Washington, Piney Campground manager. “Campers can come out and have a great time with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re considering getting into camping, it’s the perfect event to check out the different types of gear available.”

Piney Campground offers scenic lakefront and wooded sites, which accommodate tents and large motorhomes; sites range from primitive to full hook-up. Rustic camping shelters are available as well. Campers can enjoy Piney’s hiking and biking trails, ball courts and fields, playground, and pavilion. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided. The campground also has two boat ramps, a fishing pier, a swimming beach, and bike and camping equipment rentals.


From the Boston Globe:

Three New England campgrounds will play host to the inaugural Jimmy Fund Campout, Sept. 14-16, to support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The weekend will feature a scavenger hunt, and other outdoor activities.

Prices for the campout vary dependent upon your destination. Bayley’s Camping Resort in Scarborough, Maine, Danforth Bay Camping Resort in Freedom, N.H., and Normandy Farms Campground in Foxborough, Mass., are the three campgrounds hosting the event.

For more information, to register, visit, email, or call (800) 525-4669. For a limited time, use discount code FALLFUN at checkout to receive $10 off your registration.


From Vermont State Parks news release:

Every year Vermont State Parks awards park of the year honors to one park in each region. The purpose of the program is to acknowledge exemplary accomplishments of the parks field staff, as well as for the enhancement of public service-to make the parks better, more enjoyable place to recreate.

This year’s winners are:

  • Southwest: Branbury State Park.
  • Northwest: Kill Kare State Park
  • Northeast: Elmore State Park
  • Southeast: Quechee State Park


From the Richmond County Daily Journal, Rockingham:

RV parks will be the topic of discussion at the Richmond County Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustments will hear requests for zoning two RV parks — one large and one small — on Sept. 11.

Travel Resorts of America on Sycamore Lane in Derby wants to rezone its property from Agricultural-Residential to Community Commercial. According to Planning and Zoning Director of GIS James Armstrong, the location is a large RV park.

The board also will hear a request made by Bruce Ray Jones of Sanford, who wants to develop and operate a six-site RV park on three acres located on Fox Road, about three-fourths of a mile from the Highway 177 intersection.

Jones has purchased the property, which is to be subdivided into six RV spaces near the front of the property. The rear portion of the property is being divided for a single family dwelling. Jones said he would like to create the park for supplemental income.

The board will decide whether to recommend the rezonings to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, which would then amend the official Richmond County Zoning Map, if approved.


From The Associated Press:

North Dakota state parks are on pace to set a record for campers.

The Parks and Recreation Department says that through August, the 13 state parks recorded 60,469 camper nights, 2,638 more than at the same time in 2010. That year saw a record 62,769 camper nights.

The department also says that daily visitation at the parks should exceed a million people for the fourth year in a row.

State Parks Director Mark Zimmerman says the parks have made a remarkable recovery from widespread flooding last year.


Tenn. State Park Visitors Have $1.5B Impact

July 25, 2012 by · Comments Off on Tenn. State Park Visitors Have $1.5B Impact 

State parks all over Tennessee are boosting local economies by bringing traffic to the cities that surround them, according to officials, backed by state statistics.

Even towns that aren’t very commercial see an increase in life quality for residents because of the park, which indirectly leads to a better economy, park advocates argue.

Results from a study by the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries at the University of Tennessee (UT) examining park attendance for the 2008-09 year showed that every dollar allocated in the state parks budget (about $40 million a year) triggered an additional $37 in economic impact in 2008, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Dollars spent by visitors had an even bigger impact.

Nearly 17 million people visited state parks in 2008. They generated $1.5 billion in business and supported more than 18,600 jobs that year.

The UT study showed that thousands of Tennesseans have jobs because of park-generated economic activity.

People visiting state parks directly spent $725 million on goods and services from various businesses around the state in 2008, according to the study.

In turn, the visited businesses had to spend more on supplies to keep up with demand. When their spending was factored in, the study showed parks had a total industry output of $1.5 billion.

Another important contribution of state parks is an increase in property value in areas surrounding state parks.

Kathleen Williams, executive director of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, said parks create an interest in the areas around them, and businesses race to open near them for the influx of park-visiting customers.

The UT study concluded that state parks increase the state’s appeal to outside industries and retirees looking to live in a place with natural amenities.

“People come to Tennessee because it is green and beautiful. They don’t come for commercial attractions,” Williams said. “It’s worth the investment.”


RV Park and Campground Briefs

February 7, 2012 by · Comments Off on RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From the Billings (Mont.) Gazette:

Rehabilitating two campgrounds inside Yellowstone National Park is among the ideas included in a long-range plan for the park.

At Fishing Bridge Campground, a 70-year-old water line, which crosses the Yellowstone River attached to the bridge, would be buried beneath the streambed. A buried line wouldn’t have to be drained every winter, allowing facilities in Fishing Bridge to maintain fire sprinklers year-round. The Fishing Bridge RV site would also be altered to allow for bigger RVs, although the campground’s area would not be enlarged.

At Bridge Bay, dredging at the mouth has been proposed since 1993, but the work has never been done. With the water only 4 feet deep at the mouth, deep-draft boats can’t use the bay’s marina. Also proposed in the plan are showers at the campground and marina. The only showers now are at the Fishing Bridge Campground.

To read more about the plan, click here to see a story in National Parks Traveler.


From a news release:

The 2012 camping season starts early in Arizona. Warm days and cool nights, combined with Arizona’s diverse landscape and spectacular scenery, provide a wide range of camping experiences to campers each Spring. There are great national forest campgrounds in Arizona and here are some the authors of the website have enjoyed.

Click here to read the list.


From The Elizabethton Star:

Efforts to refurbish the campground at Roan Mountain State Park received a boost last week with the announcement of funding proposals by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Approximately $1.26 million has been budgeted for the park. The money is expected to be used to improve the campground.

“It’s just too early in the entire process to give specifics but typical campground upgrades would include improvements to the roads, electric service, water lines, as well as enlarging the sites,” Tennessee State Parks Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said . “Items to also consider would be the provision of new campsite amenities such as grills, tables, lantern poles, etc. Campground bathhouses could also be renovated as a part of this project as needed.”