Tennessee State Parks Preserve America's Historical Heritage

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Whether you are a history buff or a student on a school field trip, Tennessee State Parks have educational opportunities and special events throughout the year.

Tennessee has nine state parks that offer a historical look at Tenn- essee's unique past. Two parks are classified as archaeological areas and are among the best-preserved land in the nation.

Old Stone Fort State Park, located off U.S. Highway 41 in Manchester, Tenn., is an archaeology lover's dream. A 2,000-year-old American Indian ceremonial site, this state archaeological park is dedicated to the preservation, protection, study and interpretation of this significant ancient culture. Programs may be scheduled year-round for school groups and other organizations. The park hosts weekend summer activities as well.

1,162-acre Pinson Mounds State Park is the largest Middle Woodland Indian mound group in the United States. Discovered in 1820, the mounds date back to about 500 A.D. Pinson Mounds is noted for its forest and fields, wildflowers and creeks. Archaeology programs, films, and festivals are scheduled from time to time. A museum, designed to replicate an Indian mound, houses the park offices, an archeological library, an 80-seat theater, 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, and the West Tennessee Regional Archaeology Office. Fieldwork normally is held in the summer, and visitors are welcome to watch the archaeologists at work.

Sycamore Shoals State Park is located on the banks of the Watauga River in beautiful Elizabethton, Tenn. Famous for the role it played in the westward movement of the 1700s, Sycamore Shoals was the first established settlement outside of the original 13 colonies. An exact replica of Fort Watauga stands near the Sycamore Shoals river crossing. The Visitors Center houses an interpretive facility with information, historic displays, and a 450-seat theater.

Sergeant Alvin C. York was decorated with numerous medals for bravery displayed in World War I. Sergeant Alvin C. York State Park has been dedicated to this American hero. The historic area lies beside the Wolf River and includes a picturesque gristmill, the rock ledge where York was married, and his beautiful home and farm. Park grounds include picnic pavilions and playground equipment. York's burial site at the Wolf River Cemetery is only a short drive away. Sergeant Alvin C. York State Park is located in Pall Mall, Tenn., north of Crossville on Highway 127.

To learn more about these or all 54 Tennessee State Parks, recreation schedules and reservation info, call 1-888-TN-PARKS. (NAPSI)

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