This morning the state Department of Environment and Conservation released its Tennessee 2020 plan for "Parks, People and Landscapes." (You can read a PDF of the full 120-page report here.) It surveys Tennessee's 53 state parks and calls for a dedicated funding source--e.g., a set percentage of state sales tax revenue--to improve and maintain their infrastructure. It also emphasizes the health benefits of outdoor recreation, and the potential to use the parks for environmental education--including a "State Environmental Literacy Plan" to be developed by the DEC, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Environmental Education Association. As you'd expect in cash-strapped times, the plan makes it case on economic grounds as well, noting that 16.9 million people visited Tennessee state parks in 2008, generating an estimated $1.5 billion in direct or indirect economic activity, much of it in rural counties. More broadly, the report talks about using "quality growth" strategies to preserve rural landscapes, and the need to protect the state's 60,417 miles of rivers, creeks and streams.