All Tennessee state parks closed indefinitely

Posted at 9:14 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 22:14:45-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The closure of all 56 Tennessee state parks has been extended indefinitely.

The announcement comes as officials at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation continue to monitor health and safety guidance related to COVID-19. All parks had previously been set to reopen on April 14.

“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.”

As the weather got warmer, state parks saw what officials called "staggering" increases in visitor traffic, including out of state visitors. The increased amount of visitors presented situations where it was difficult for both guests 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.”

Officials say they are closely monitoring the situation and will notify the public when parks reopen.