Tenn. park system finalist for national medal

WINDER, Ga. (AP) - The Georgia park system is one of three finalists for the National Recreation and Park Association's "Gold Medal Excellence in Park and Recreation Management" award.

The state's 63 parks and historic sites are competing with park systems in Tennessee and Utah for the medal.

The winner will be announced September 26th at the association's 2007 congress in Indianapolis.

The systems were nominated for long-range planning, resource management, environmental stewardship, program and professional development, volunteerism and the ability to meet the needs of a diverse population.

Georgia's parks cover more than 84-thousand acres of diverse natural areas, from canyons and mountains to natural springs and marshland, and include historical sites.

About 10 million people visit the parks every year, and 37-hundred volunteers help the visitors by doing a variety of jobs, from acting as hosts at campsites to doing repairs.

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