The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced that 28 of 56 Tennessee state parks had attained Platinum status, the highest level of accomplishment, under its “Go Green With Us” program.
It’s the most significant number of Platinum parks in the program’s history.
“Our state parks are going above and beyond what’s expected in environmental protection and sustainability, and we are thrilled with their performance in this program,” said Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC.
“This formally recognizes our parks’ dedication to preserving the environment and to presenting the best example possible to our visitors.”
The TDEC announcement came before the annual global Earth Day on Friday, April 22.
The comprehensive Go Green With Us program was launched in 2015 and provided guidelines for the park’s operations to help employees and visitors become more eco-friendly.
Parks implement sustainability practices and are recognized in the spring near Earth Day. This year, 37 parks were upgraded by one level since the last assessment in 2020, as 22 parks earned Gold status and six receiving Silver.
Every park recycles what is available for recycling in their counties. Another aspect of the program includes replacing water fixtures using low-volume alternatives, composting food waste, installing LED lighting in high-traffic areas, enforcing no-idle zones to cut emissions, and locating endangered, rare and threatened species and plant native species.
Most campgrounds are litter-free, with easily accessible dumpsters and recycling bins. Certain restaurants cut down on food waste by diverting, donating, and composting methods.
Some parks have gardens on-site that provide fresh vegetables and herbs to kitchens and the local communities.
Park visitors are encouraged to ask about their park’s Go Green initiative and what they can do to participate. More information about the program can be found online.