Sgt. Alvin C. York named Tennessee’s State Park of the Year for WWI history
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) recognized Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall as the 2017 State Park of the Year. The park – which is the former home of a World War I hero – was selected for the exceptional visitor experience offered through living history programming.
“Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park is the pinnacle example of how a cultural site should operate, and how a state park can impact a narrative and a community,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill.
As the centennial of WWI and Veterans Day approached in November 2017, the park organized a weekend of large-scale living history programming, including reenacted trench assaults and a vintage football game. Since then, living history programming at the park has continued to expand. Park visitors can dive into the 20th century by exploring WWI solider equipment, eating a sample meal of wartime rations and spending the night in recreated trenches.
“Our park is relevant and impactful on a national stage,” said Park Manager Josh Waggener. “Our interpretive programs draw audiences and volunteers from across the country, giving a national voice to Tennessee’s role in this important era of history.”
The Visitor Center is modeled after York’s General Store and tours of the York home are offered daily. The park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. In 2017, park staff partnered with the WWI Centennial Commission, Center for Historic Preservation and National Historic Landmarks Program to offer more than 1,200 organized and experiential programs.
Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park was honored with the 2016 Excellence in Interpretation Award in 2017. The Annual Park Awards of Excellence – which honor five parks annually – were created to recognize exceptional work within Tennessee State Parks. The 2017 award winners were recognized at the Tennessee State Park annual park management conference in January at Montgomery Bell State Park.
Parks are nominated by TDEC staff and voted on by Tennessee State Park leadership. Additional 2017 winners include: Cedars of Lebanon State Park (Resource Management), David Crockett Birthplace State Historic Park (Interpretation), Henry Horton State Park (Innovation) and Montgomery Bell State Park (Sustainability).