Tennessee State Parks today Tuesday it will extend the closure of all 56 state parks as officials at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation continue to monitor health and safety guidance related to COVID-19. This includes Old Stone Fort State Park in Manchester.
The announcement extends Tennessee State Parks’ current closure beyond the previously announced April 14. Officials are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will notify the public when parks reopen.
“We are grateful for the cooperation and understanding of Tennesseans during this difficult period,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “We are extending closure of the parks in the interest of safety for everyone.”
Tennessee has one of the top state park systems in the country. As the weather grew warmer, state parks saw staggering increases in visitor traffic, including from out of state visitors. While normally desirable, this increased visitation presented situations where it was difficult for park visitors and staff to maintain safe distances from each other.
“We want to make sure that when we do reopen, visitors and our park staff can feel confident in their safety,” Bryson said. “With health and safety at the forefront, we look forward to getting people back into the outdoors – beyond their backyards and neighborhoods – to experience the natural wonders our state has to offer.”