Title: Park manager releases book on state parks history
Author: Joe Tennis
Publisher: Tri-Cities News
For Sharon Ewing, compiling a book on the state park history in Virginia turned out to be truly a labor of love.
Ewing manages Virginia's smallest state park: Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap. Here, a couple of years ago, she compiled a pictorial history on Big Stone Gap.
Now, as the state park system in Virginia turns 75 years old, Ewing is back with "Images of America: Virginia State Parks" (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99), featuring photos from all of Virginia's state parks.
And that includes a wealth of places in Southwest Virginia: Wilderness Road State Park; Natural Tunnel State Park; Claytor Lake State Park; Grayson Highlands State Park; Hungry Mother State Park; Breaks Interstate Park; and the Southwest Virginia Museum.
Currently, the Southwest Virginia Museum is showcasing an exhibit on Virginia State Parks history.
"Basically, what we're trying to do as a state park system is preserve our own internal history," Ewing said. "We are the first state park system to open all on the same day."
That was done on June 15, 1936. And the first six state parks were established in a way to be geographically spread out across the state and also feature bodies of water, Ewing said.
"Hungry Mother is unique in that it was already a recreation area," Ewing said. "It was a private recreation area, and there was a small lake there."
On Saturday, June 18, Ewing is joining the 75th anniversary celebration at Hungry Mother State Park and conducting a book signing to benefit the Friends of Hungry Mother State Park.
"There's a lot going on with the 75th anniversary of the state park system," Ewing said. "And it's important to celebrate milestones like this, to stop and remind ourselves of how we got to this point."