KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — New year-round recreation features, called learning playscapes, are coming to several state parks in East Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The playscapes have been announced for Cove Lake State Park, David Crockett Birthplace State Park, Warriors’ Path State Park, Harrison Bay State Park, and Norris Dam State Park.

This announcement comes after the pools at the state parks were permanently closed in 2021 and the state began searching for alternative, year-round outdoor recreational operations. The new playscapes will replace the swimming pools at the parks.

“We always look for the best ways to serve our parks visitors, and we are excited about this feature,” said Greer Tidwell, TDEC’s deputy commissioner for Conservation. “The playscape will be available throughout the year, and we look forward to having families enjoy this new asset.”

At Cove Lake, Warriors’ Path, Harrison Bay and Norris Dam State Parks, work is expected to begin this year and will include equipment, surfacing, and ADA-compliant design. At David Crockett Birthplace State Park, work is scheduled to start in early 2024. All of the projects have been approved by the State Building Commission.

TDEC said the “nature-based playscape” will encourage both play and learning about the natural environment.

“Research shows that children thrive on many levels when they are provided outdoor education. [The parks’ playscapes] will help children connect with nature with a hands-on experience,” reads a release from TDEC.

According to TDEC, Tennessee State Parks determined that investing funds into “a desired and fiscally responsible outdoor recreation feature for use year-round” was the best way to maximize the park’s benefit to the community.

The playscapes have also been announced for David Crockett State Park in Middle Tennessee. Other parks’ whose swimming pools were closed include Roan Mountain, Booker T. Washington, Paris Landing, and Tims Ford State Park. However, a replacement has not yet been announced for these parks.

Cove Lake State Park covers 606 acres on the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The park’s scenic nature trails wind through diverse wetlands and woodlands, providing ample opportunities for wildlife viewing. A paved walking and biking trail also offers easy access to all park facilities.

David Crockett Birthplace State Park sits upstream from the falls of the scenic Nolichucky River and commemorates the birthplace of the pioneer, soldier, and politician known as Davy Crockett. The 105-acre park has 88 campsites and three picnic pavilions.

Warriors’ Path State Park sits on 950 acres on the shores of the Patrick Henry Reservoir on the Holston River. The park is the only Tennessee State Park with a Darrell’s Dream Boundless Playground where children of all physical and mental abilities can play together according to TDEC.

Harrison Bay State Park is a 1,200-acre park with 40 miles of Chickamauga Lake shoreline. It was developed as a Tennessee Valley Authority recreation area in the 1930s.

Norris Dam State Park covers more than 4,000 acres at Norris Reservoir. The park offers boating, skiing, and fishing, a fully equipped marina with a boat ramp available to the public, 19 historic cabins and 10 deluxe cabins according to TDEC.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated.