Bobby Fulcher, a park manager with over 40 years of service to Tennessee State Parks, has been named one of the winners of the 2020 Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award is part of the annual Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.
Fulcher is the park manager for the Cumberland Trail and has worked in Rhea County, securing portions of the trail that run through Dayton’s Laurel-Snow State Natural Area, formerly Pocket Wilderness.
Fulcher has dedicated his entire professional life to Tennessee State Parks, spanning 40-plus years from his first job as a seasonal employee at Pickett State Park in 1976 to his current role as park manager at Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park. As leader of the park since 2000, he has guided the vision for the Cumberland Trail. Fulcher has received numerous accolades for his time, effort and dedication to the natural and cultural heritage of the Cumberland Plateau and Appalachian region.
As a regional naturalist, he applied for and received funds through the National Endowment for the Arts’ Folk Arts Program, and the funding was used to start the Tennessee State Parks Folklife Project, with three folklorists, one for each grand division in the state. He took up the challenge of preserving old songs by collecting and recording materials during visits in homes of Tennesseans. He began successful folk music programs and festivals in the parks. The Folklife Project has produced more than 500 hours of audiotapes, 9,600 slides and 2,200 black-and-white negatives that are stored in the vaults of the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville.
In 1999, Fulcher joined the staff at Cumberland Trail State Park before becoming manager the next year. It is the state’s only linear park as a scenic hiking trail cutting through 11 Tennessee counties and follows a line of pristine high ridges and deep gorges along the Cumberland Plateau. The state continues to partner with the Cumberland Trails Conference and other volunteers to solicit public and private support for the acquisition of land along the trail. In 2002, the park was renamed for Justin P. Wilson in honor of Wilson’s work to help make the vision of the Cumberland Trail a reality.