Most Tennessee state parks to reopen this Friday

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / The Highway 27 staircase leads up to the Cumberland Trail State Park in the Tennessee River Gorge Segment on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Marion County, Tenn.

Tennessee State Parks will reopen most of its 56 parks this Friday, April 24, for day-use only. Specific details on which parks will reopen will be available on this week, according to a news release sent Monday afternoon.

All 56 of Tennessee's state parks temporarily closed April 4 in response to Gov. Bill Lee's Executive Order 23.

Overcrowding may cause entire parks or portions of parks to close again, the release states. Facilities and gathering areas, including pavilions and playgrounds, will remain closed. Cabins, lodges, restaurants, campgrounds, and group camps remain closed. For up-to-date information on park closure please visit

"We are eager to serve once again but we urge Tennesseans to continue to practice physical distancing when visiting parks," Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. "We have implemented policies designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we will monitor all aspects of the issue to ensure safety among visitors and our staff."

State park officials encourage the following while visiting parks:

* Stay at home if you are sick or do not feel well.

* Maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other visitors.

* Visit parks that are only a short distance from your home.

* Consider visiting earlier in the day so you can adjust plans if a park is full. Tennessee State Parks may limit access to certain parks or areas if capacity is reached.

* Plan ahead. Many Tennessee State Parks buildings will be closed. Plan to bring your own snacks, water and hand sanitizer.

* Prepare for limited or no bathroom access. Some restrooms remain open, but many will not.

* Consider bringing a mask and wearing it when around other people.

Carry your trash with you or dispose of it in the appropriate containers to help keep our cleaning staff safe and our parks litter-free.

(READ MORE: All Tennessee state parks to close; some Hamilton County parks still open during COVID-19 crisis)