The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has named Radnor Lake State Park in Nashville its Park of the Year as part of the Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence. The park was also honored with an award for its performance in sustainability.
“Radnor Lake State Park is a perfect example of why we are so proud of our parks,” said. TDEC Commissioner David Salyers. “The park has initiated outstanding programs, and it consistently earns great support from the community. Its performance in sustainability is just part of the park’s overall achievements. We are excited to recognize Radnor Lake with these awards.”
Radnor Lake was chosen among 56 state parks for the awards. The park features programs focused on birds, providing interpretive spotting scope programs to highlight the park’s first-ever American Bald Eagle nest. It has interpretive programming for visitors with special needs at the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center with the aviary’s non-releasable birds-of-prey.
The park hosted four weeks of the Junior Ranger Intern Program with 51 youth participants, held its annual Trees to Trails program that recycled 900 Christmas trees, a park record, and worked with more than 1,500 volunteers on projects ranging from invasive plant removal to stream cleanups and trail projects.
In October, the park welcomed Rivian electric car charging stations and was the first park with two of the chargers, used daily, making up over 60 percent of EV use in Tennessee State Parks. In November, it hosted a ribbon-cutting with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development for the first wheelchair accessible color viewfinder in Tennessee.
Using Go Green building products with recycled materials and recycling electronics items also contributed to the park’s recognition for sustainability.
The park’s various programs each year draw outstanding help from the Friends of Radnor Lake, a support group committed to protecting and promoting Radnor Lake. The park kicked off National Public Lands Day last year with the opening of its Lake Trail Bridges Project, three bridges to improve water quality and accessibility, funded by the Friends group. The group supports the park’s interpretive programming, land acquisition, a focus on visitors with special needs, and a native grasslands initiative. The group contributed over $607,000 in external funds last year to Radnor Lake.
TDEC also announced awards for the best parks in the following categories:
Johnsonville State Historic Park in the Customer Engagement category; Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park for Innovation; Henry Horton State Park for Interpretation; and Dunbar Cave State Park and Edgar Evins State Park in a tie for the best Resource Management.