Support our Trails
Join us in protecting, enhancing, and constructing trails at Tennessee State Parks by donating to the Trail Pack. Your generous donations go directly to trails, helping us ensure they are the best they can be.
Donate to Support Trails
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Each Trail Pack donation provides direct funding to the Tennessee State Parks trails program, supporting the future of your favorite trails. They help us repair trail structures, purchase tools for maintenance, and enhance the education of the staff who care for our trails.
Every $25 donation comes with two annual Trail Pack stickers to show your support for trails and a 10% discount on most overnight stays at Tennessee State Parks. Grab some stickers for yourself, your hiking buddies, and your family! You can also donate without receiving stickers if you'd like.
Please note: Stickers are only available through online orders. They are not available at the park offices, gift shops, etc.
Every donation makes a difference! One donation of $25 could pay for one tank of trail machine fuel, fourteen new trail markers, or four feet of new trail. Check out some of the projects that Trail Packs has supported with donated funds:
DONATE TO THE TRAIL PACK
Part of being a trail supporter means advocating for responsible trail use. When you #StickToTheTrail, you’re protecting the natural environment for future generations to enjoy. For more tips on responsible recreation visit the link below.
#tsptrailpack | #sticktothetrails
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A good trail is like a gym membership, a living textbook, and a therapist all rolled into one. High-quality trails are the foundation of a state park system. They connect visitors to the natural, cultural, and historic sites that make these places worth protecting.
It takes time and work to maintain trails. What might seem like a well-worn dirt path is actually intentionally designed to inspire a deep relationship between the user and nature while protecting the natural environment. These trails provide access to recreation such as hiking, trail running, and mountain biking as well as education about the natural environment.
Consistent use, misuse, and exposure to the elements can pose a threat to our trails. These factors lead to the need for maintenance and new trail builds. Part of what makes trails at Tennessee State Parks so special is that they’re free for everyone to access and enjoy. So while the trails don’t require a cost to access, the use of trails does create an ongoing cost. The Outdoor Foundation reports that trail use has been on a steady increase over the past ten years. While we love to see new faces on the trails, the rise in use has increased the frequency at which our trails require maintenance.
Maintaining trails helps prevent erosion and improves trail safety by mitigating issues that can cause hikers to venture off-trail. Staff and volunteers are constantly working to prevent erosion, remove downed trees, and repair unstable bridges. Maintaining trails isn’t always a walk in the park (pun intended) and while it sometimes involves moving giant boulders and the use of heavy machinery, routine maintenance can be as simple as replacing old and broken boards on bridges to ensure guest safety. When consistent maintenance is made possible through funding and volunteer help, the need to construct replacement trails and trail features can often be avoided.
It takes even more time and resources to build a new trail. Every mile of the new trail costs about $30,000 to build. With donations made through the Tennessee State Parks Trail Pack, you can help us fund these routine projects and new builds that will improve the future of trails at Tennessee State Parks.
That is a great question! Park maintenance and trail building are funded through appropriations for state parks through the General Assembly. However, the demand for new trails, and the need for maintenance, often outpace the funding. The Trail Pack program allows trail lovers and users a chance to dedicate additional resources to that specific area of the park they love.
Want to dig deeper into the topic? This study looks at the national impact visitation increases have on the cost per acre of managing public lands.
It might be easier, but easier isn’t always better. We believe everyone should have access to the mental, physical and emotional benefits of the outdoors. Offering free admission is one way we promote equitable access. Donation opportunities like the Trail Pack allow visitors to give from a place of desire rather than obligation. Plus, it gives visitors a voice in how the funds are used. Trail Pack funds go directly to trails.
Trail Pack supporters will pledge $25 per donation. In exchange for this donation, our staff will send a thank you note and two annual decals to the billing address. The donations will go into a Tennessee State Parks Trail Fund. The Trails Administrator will work with parks to use these donations on new trails, trail maintenance, equipment, repairs, etc.
The Tennessee State Parks Trail Pack is a non-exclusive group of people who show their support by specifically donating to trail work. Each supporter packet comes with a unique, annual sticker that encourages those who join the Trail Pack to promote this opportunity and generate additional interest.