Park officials want Tennesseans to vacation locally

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Looking to compensate for declining attendance, state officials are marketing state parks to locals looking for cheaper vacation destinations.

Murray Crow, the state's regional park manager, said fuel prices at $4 a gallon could affect out-of-state travelers this year.

Instead of a long-distance trip to the beach, park officials want Tennesseans to consider a cool mountain stream. Travelers can check out a new feature on the state park Web site called, "Less than One Tank Trips."

Tennessee has 53 state parks, including six resort parks, that include inns, cabins, restaurants and golf. Records show that attendance at the resort parks -- Fall Creek Falls, Henry Horton, Montgomery Bell, Natchez Trace, Pickwick Landing and Paris Landing -- were low but steady as gas prices rose over the last two years.

Park Manager Jim Hall at Fall Creek Falls, about 60 miles from Chattanooga, said he noticed fewer out-of-state and more Tennessee license plates during the Memorial Day weekend.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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