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Last night, November 16, the two books created for Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium’s 50th Anniversary were officially unveiled to a crowd of supporters and local media. The winner of the “I am Bays Mountain” stories contest was announced to be Norman Blue, who traveled from Atlanta for the special occasion.

Previously released:
Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium has celebrated 50 years with enthusiasm since 2021 began. Now, the people who made it all happen will get to take part of the celebration home with them.

On November 16, Bays Mountain Park will be hosting a press conference at Kingsport Times News to officially unveil the two books published for the 50th anniversary, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium: Celebrating 50 Years and Unalii’s Unexpected Adventure. Media is invited to attend the press conference at 5 p.m. with a VIP reception for invited guests to follow.

The overall winner of the “I am Bays Mountain” stories contest will also be announced at the press conference, where the winner will receive the grand prize of a Lifetime Membership to Bays Mountain Park, valued at $1,000.

“Reading the personal ‘I am Bays Mountain’ stories has been such a wonderful journey into the lives of those who have experienced Bays Mountain Park in such informative and influential ways over the first 50 years,” said Park Manager Rob Cole. “It absolutely confirms that the park’s mission as a nature preserve, a state designated natural area, and a regional educational and recreational hub is and always has been the correct choice, and one that has made impacts in our lives that run deep and are passed on from generation to generation. Reflecting its original purpose, may that always be true of Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium.”

The guest list for the November 16 book unveiling event will include the numerous boards, commissions, committees and staff that came together to help see this project through. Former Mayor Jeanette Blazier will head off the evening, with comments made by Alan Rau, Mary Steadman, Susan Lodal and Darrell Dinsmore.

The commemorative book, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium: Celebrating 50 Years, is an 11” x 10 3/4” hardcover book that describes the thinking that led to the idea of the park and nature preserve, chronicles the history of its development and gives readers a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the park.

“Eastman Credit Union is honored to be a sponsor of the Bays Mountain Commemorative Book and the Bays Mountain 50th Anniversary Celebration,” said ECU president and CEO Kelly Price. “We have a long history of supporting Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium as it is such an integral part of the area in which we live. This commemorative book not only captures and highlights the beauty of Bays Mountain but proceeds from the sale will support improvements at the park. ECU is proud to share the responsibility of making the communities in which we live, work, and play better, not only for today but also for tomorrow.”

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium: Celebrating 50 Years was written by Pam Cox and designed by Andy Barnes. Full of stunning photographs compiled by the photography consultant, Jay Huron, it is a celebration of Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium’s first 50 years that will become a keepsake for generations to come. The commemorative book project was coordinated by Mary Steadman, chair of the History Subcommittee for the BMP Celebration Committee, sponsored by Eastman Credit Union (ECU) and created in partnership with Kingsport Times News.

“The Kingsport Times News is delighted to be a part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of iconic Bays Mountain Park,” said Kingsport Times News publisher Rick Thomason. “We extend our gratitude to the park Anniversary Committee for allowing us the privilege of partnering on the commemorative books and the promotions leading up to the actual park anniversary. We congratulate the park founders, stewards and staff on this milestone event. Though Bays Mountain Park is a one-of-a-kind treasure to be enjoyed by all, it is a natural treasure that is uniquely Kingsport. We look forward to the next amazing 50 years of Bays Mountain Park and encourage everyone to enjoy and support this beautiful city centerpiece.”

The children’s book, Unalii’s Unexpected Adventure, is an 11” x 8.5” hardcover book packed with educational facts, full-color photography, and a glossary of terms. The book was written by Julie Nutter and Lize Bailey, with photographs by Jay Huron. Recommended for primary school-aged children, this story showcases the natural beauty, ecology, and history of the largest city-owned park in Tennessee and will be enjoyed for years to come. This project was coordinated by Susan Lodal, chair of the Education Subcommittee for the BMP Celebration Committee, and sponsored by Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network. All proceeds will benefit upcoming parks projects, including upgrades to the wolf habitat and construction of the Fox Den natural play space.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this project that will ultimately help to put books in the hands of children across the Appalachian Highlands, and allow us to celebrate the natural beauty of Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium in its fiftieth year,” said Lisa Carter, chief executive officer of Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network and vice president of pediatric services at Ballad Health. “Literacy has been proven in studies to have an impact on long-term health, and we need to do all we can to help our children read at an appropriate level. What better way to help children do that than with a book that showcases some of our region’s most beautiful assets.”

You can still order both books for the special discounted bundle price of $39 through November 30—the perfect holiday gift for any Bays lover. To order your copies, visit baysmountain.com/books.

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park, visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.