KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It was May 1937 when the Tennessee Public Act also known as the “Organic Act” was established by Gov. Gordon Browning, creating Tennessee State Parks. The state park system hosts 56 parks, 80+ waterfalls and more than 1,300 miles of trails throughout the state.

The anniversary comes as Tennesseans and visitors to the Volunteer State ready to remember the fallen and celebrate the unofficial start of summer for Memorial Day weekend; plus, upcoming ranger-led hikes for National Trails Day in the first weekend of June. The state park system is one of seven in the United States that doesn’t charge for entry.

“Our parks continue to provide an outstanding experience for visitors and a significant financial boost for our state and local communities,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “Tennesseans enjoy one of the best parks systems in the country, and these numbers reflect the impressive performance of our parks across the state.”

Tennessee State Parks said in a May 21 press release for the anniversary that with 85 years, comes a lot of history. The park system also shared how the number of established Tennessee State Parks has grown from zero in 1937, to 20 in 1962, and finally 56 today across the state.

With Memorial Day approaching, some of the parks within the system is hosting some events throughout the weekend. You can find those events here on its site as well as in our WATE curated story.

More events are planned to celebrate the 85th anniversary. National Trails Day is June 4 and Tennessee State Parks officials say they encourage visitors to plan their visit and spend the day hiking on the many trails within the park system. They’re hosting a variety of ranger-led day hikes for National Trails Day.

“This year is going to be extra special since we are celebrating the 30th Annual National Trails Day and the 85th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks,” a news release states.

More information is available on the Tennessee State Parks website.