TN State Parks Ranked Best

State Parks Norris Dam

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's state parks have been named the best in the country.

Tennessee Environment and Conservation Commissioner James Fyke was presented with the 2007 Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management at an annual parks conference in Indianapolis.

Governor Phil Bredesen said the award affirms the steps his administration has taken to protect the state's special places.

Bredesen has reopened 14 shuttered parks, dropped access fees at 23 parks and expanded the state's park holdings by buying land from timber companies.

Tennessee has 54 state parks and 77 natural areas.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)