Edgar Evins, Dunbar Cave State Parks share resource management award

Edgar Evins State Park wins the award for Excellence in Resource Management for Tennessee State Parks. The park tied for the award with Dunbar Cave State Park. In the presentation to Edgar Evins State Park are, from left, Kenneth Gragg, area manager; Greer Tidwell, deputy commissioner, TDEC; Brad Halfacre, park manager; David Salyers, commissioner, TDEC; and Mike Robertson, director of operations for Tennessee State Parks.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has honored Edgar Evins State Park and Dunbar Cave State Park with Excellence in Resource Management awards after they tied in the category in the annual Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence.

“These two parks have shown outstanding commitment to protecting our natural wonders,” said TDEC Commissioner David Salyers. “From providing a natural habitat for pollinators to the preservation of a cave, the parks show an understanding of the responsibility we have in protecting the environment, and we are proud to honor both of the parks with this award.”  

Edgar Evins State Park last year sprayed, burned and hydroseeded over one mile of roadside with a native mix of 21 different wildflower species to provide habitat for native pollinators. The park now has an abundance of native wildflowers along its roadways and steep banks. The park has seen over one dozen native bee species, four native fly species and over one dozen butterfly species working the habitat.

Dunbar Cave State Park was honored for its management of Native American cave art in Dunbar Cave, particularly the Mississippian-era art. Tours of the cave allow approximately 8,000 people annually to view the art. However, the floor was being eroded, so park management partnered with Girl Scout Troop 2434 and the Tennessee Division of Archaeology to construct a raised platform over the sensitive part of the cave. The viewing platform eliminates risk from future foot traffic and prevents visitors from inadvertently touching cave walls. With a new lighting system, these steps ensure the park will be able to share the Native American art for generations.

The Resource Management category for the award includes parks that have demonstrated effective activities, natural or cultural, in managing resources within the park. Those activities can include but are not limited to invasive species management, historic preservation, rare species, inventory, landscape restoration, habitat enhancement or protection, pest management and oral history collection. 

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