Fran Wallas— Tennessee Trail Writer

Since 2005 The Tennessee Conservationist magazine featured Fran Wallas’ “Great Hikes in Tennessee State Parks” in each bi-monthly issue.


Fran Wallas, left, with Editor Louise Zepp and Commissioner Jim Fyke with the American Trails 2008 National Media Award trophy

by American Trails Staff

Her hiking recommendations are available as a free public service on the Tennessee Conservationist website.

A story in The Tennesseean noted that "Wallas, a mother and grandmother, held a spot in an elite group as a member of The Great Smoky Mountains 900 Miler Club, meaning she had hiked all 900 miles of maintained trails in the national park."

Fran was an accomplished hiker and trail-builder with a gift for sharing her experiences from a variety of pathways crisscrossing Tennessee State Parks. Drawing upon her first-person encounters with state park hiking and walking trails, Fran's articles offer helpful insight ranging from each trail’s degree of difficulty to the types of unique natural features one should expect to find along that hike. Although she worked as an attorney for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in Nashville, she volunteered to write for The Tennessee Conservationist magazine.

For its coverage of trails and trail work across the state, The Tennessee Conservationist won the 2008 Outstanding Media Award from American Trails at the National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Ark. The Outstanding Media Award was given to The Tennessee Conservationist because it “has demonstrated significant and sustained efforts to provide positive public exposure and education in the field of trail use, planning, design, or implementation.” In many editions, The Tennessee Conservationist has included articles and photographs to support and focus on trails, volunteer opportunities for working on trails, historic trails and the beautiful trails in Tennessee State Parks.

Fran Wallas was on hand in Little Rock to accept the award. “I feel so lucky that I was at the National Trails Symposium at the time the American Trail Association chose to award The Tennessee Conservationist such a wonderful honor,” says Wallas.

“There were people there from all states, federal agencies, and even from South Korea,” says Wallas. “This is a great honor for all of the volunteer writers, photographers and subscribers who help make the magazine possible,” says Editor Louise Zepp. Also on hand to help accept the Outstanding Media Award for The Tennessee Conservationist was Bob Richards, Tennessee Greenways and Trails coordinator. Richards was also the winner of State Trail Worker Award presented at the National Trails Symposium.