HomeNewsAnnual state parks fundraiser underway in Tennessee

Annual state parks fundraiser underway in Tennessee

Supporters may cast ‘votes’ for Pinson Mounds throughout April

By Sabrina Bates

Staff Writer

It’s that time of year when community members have the opportunity to earn bragging rights for their local Tennessee state park.

Through the My TN State Park Fundraiser, supporters can cast a “vote” for their favorite state park in the form of financial donations. One dollar equals one vote for a state park. This annual project is an initiative of the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy. 

Madison Countians have an opportunity to support their local state park, Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park throughout the month of April as part of the fundraiser.

Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park covers more than 1,200 acres and contains at least 15 Native American mounds. In addition to Sauls Mound, the group includes Ozier Mound, the Twin Mounds and Mound 31. Archaeological evidence suggests the mounds were both burial and ceremonial in purpose. 

In the 1950s and 1960s, local citizens, believing in the value of the site, convinced the state to purchase the land and preserve it as a park. Pinson Mounds officially became a Tennessee State Park in 1974. To this day, the park contains the largest Native American Middle Woodland Period mound group in the United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Pinson Mounds museum is designed to replicate a Native American mound. The building includes 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, an archaeological library, an 80-seat theater and ‘Discovery Room’ for historical exploration, park offices and the West Tennessee Regional Archaeology Office.

Outdoor attractions at Pinson Mounds State Park include hiking trails which allow access to the Native American mounds and picnic facilities each equipped with a table and grill. The group camp has four cabins (sleeping eight people each), restrooms with six showers as well as washers and dryers and a large main building with a kitchen.

During the 2023 My TN State Park Fundraiser, Pinson ranked 11th out of 20 other state parks, with $1,637.51 in “vote” donations.

Frozen Head State Park in Morgan County’s Wartburg, a state park in Pinson’s category, earned the most “votes” at #10,707.49 for Group 3. Last year’s fundraiser grouped state parks into three categories based on annual park attendance. This year, however, the fundraiser has grouped the state parks by region – West, Middle, Cumberland Plateau and East.

Taking the number one fundraising spot in West Tennessee in 2023 was Paris Landing State Park with $5,629.49 in votes.

More than 1,600 donations totaling more than $113,000 were raised statewide through the My TN State Park Fundraiser.

Voters can donate online at https://tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/my-tn-state-park-fundraiser throughout the month of April.

There is an option online to vote for individual state parks and an option to cast a vote for all 57 Tennessee state parks. As of Wednesday, there was $16,953 donated statewide through the initiative. Of those donations, $123 were marked for Pinson Mounds. 

Tennessee State Parks use the donations to improve and sustain their parks through trail-repair projects, birds of prey programs and children’s education efforts. Previously, Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park was able to use donations from the My TN State Park Fundraiser to enhance park signage, providing clearer and more informative communication. This year, park reps hope to continue this valuable work with new signage in the Whorled Sunflower area and at the Medicine Wheel. They also hope to add native plants to enhance the overall aesthetic seen at the Medicine Wheel. There is no cost to visit Pinson Mounds Archaeological State Park. Activities are planned throughout the year, with little to no cost to participate. 

On Monday, from 12-12:30 p.m., the park will host a solar eclipse viewing party. Activities typically require advanced reservations, online at https://tnstateparks.com/parks/pinson-mounds or by calling Park Ranger Dedra Ekberg at 731-988-5614.

Through Oct. 31, Pinson Mounds is open daily from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The park is located at 460 Ozier Rd., Pinson.

The state park that receives the most votes in this year’s My TN State Park Fundraiser within each group will be awarded and recognized. There will also be an award for “most improved” given to the park with the highest percentage increase in donations from last year’s fundraiser to this year. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 6 on tnstateparks.com/vote.

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