Tennessee parks turning tires into trails

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(NewsNation) — The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is turning a lot of trash into treasure that can be enjoyed by all. Volunteers and officials from the Tennessee State Parks cleaned up 24,000 illegally dumped tires around Fuller State Park.

The tires were then recycled into crumbs of material that can be used in creating paths. Now, there’s a new walking and biking trail that stretches 2.5 miles.

Tennessee State Parks trail administrator Michael Meister joined “Morning in America” from Nashville to explain more about the project.

“Unfortunately, the city of Memphis has had quite a problem with illegal tire dumping for decades now,” Meister explained. “It’s not really a situation of the park itself, it’s just the surrounding urban area.”

Meister explained how illegal tire dumping has become a bad situation for the city. The park saw that they could take these tires and make their trail project an environmental bonus, rather than just a recreational opportunity.

“We were excited to jump at it,” Meister said.

The park worked with a handful of organizations to make this project a reality, including Memphis City Beautiful, the city of Memphis, Shelby County and additional existing city organizations.

“I think it’s going to kind of shine a light to people that tires can be more than just something that gets dumped into a local landfill,” Meister said. “Not only are tires that are dumped illegally in people’s yards and local recreational areas a huge hazard and issue for mosquito breeding — and things like that — but tires sitting in our landfill take up space. They’re a giant fire hazard.”

Meister explained that recycling the tires just makes sense: they are taking material that would otherwise have no secondary use and creating a new purpose for it — in this case, a trail that provides people high-quality recreational opportunity.

To learn more about this project, visit the Tennesse State Parks website.

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