News & Events

mt. bike race

Urban Wilderness Hosts Knoxville’s First Mountain Bike Race

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) held a Tennessee High School Cycling League mountain bike race in Knoxville for the first time on October 11 in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. This was the third event in the state’s four-race fall series for both high school and middle school students.

Working with Legacy Parks Foundation and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, representatives from the Tennessee League said the Knoxville race highlighted Legacy Parks’ new purpose built flow trails for mountain biking that are ideally located in an urban area. The trails were made possible by a State of Tennessee Recreational Trails Program grant and built on Legacy Parks’ property.

“The trail is very smooth with machine built surfaces, burmed turns, and great passing opportunities,” said Speed Baranco, President of the Board of the Tennessee League. Although not yet open to the public, Legacy Parks allowed the special use for this first school event. More than 150 racers from around the state participated in the Sunday race. Teams came from as far as Memphis, Collierville, Nashville, and even some from Kentucky competed in five to 15 mile races.

Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops high school mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services, and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events and supports development of every student-athlete.

For more information on racing, starting a team, or volunteering, visit the League’s website at




more details

G&O Rail-with-Trail

Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans recently announced a new three-mile multi-use trail to be built along the G&O Railway in South Knoxville from Chapman Highway to Mead’s Quarry and the South Loop Trails of the Urban Wilderness.

“Just like New York’s High Line and Atlanta’s BeltLine, this trail can be just as iconic for Knoxville,” she said.

Working with Pete and Linda Claussen of Gulf & Ohio Railways, the new trail will run adjacent to the working tracks – a ‘Rail with Trail’ as opposed to a ‘Rail to Trail’ – which turns abandoned railways to trails. The G&O trail will provide both a commuter and a recreational route and is another key connection in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.

In addition to the recreation benefits, the new trail should revitalize some areas that have been vacant and underdeveloped. “What we’re going to see is neighborhoods connected, businesses connected, businesses that incubate along the rail line because people will love to sit on a patio and bike from spot to spot,” Evans said.

more details

Legacy Luncheon Draws 1,000 to Hear ‘Wild’ Author

The 2015 Legacy Luncheon for the Parks’ speaker, Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, the memoir of her 1,100 mile solo trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, shared how nature saved her and she now thanks the people who had the foresight to save nature.

Strayed spoke to a record-breaking audience of 1,000 at the annual fundraising luncheon held at the spectacular UT Holston River Farm, with amazing views of both the head of the Tennessee River and downtown Knoxville. The luncheon marks the 10th year of Legacy Parks’ work to save our green and open spaces and create recreational opportunities.

Also at the luncheon, Carol Evans announced that Gulf and Ohio Railways will donate land for the first Rails with Trails route from Chapman Highway to Mead’s Quarry at Ijams Nature Center. This is the first such trail in our area, and is a much needed connection from the western edge of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. She also announced that Legacy Parks would soon donate the 70-acre River Bluff property to the City of Knoxville as a public park, and that Legacy Parks is expanding into Oak Ridge by facilitating new trails on DOE reindustrialized land. These news trails will add weight to our national reputation as a mountain bike destination – which adds a significant economic impact to our community.

Legacy Parks continues to work to preserve our natural resources and create places where we can, as Strayed suggested, “put yourself in the way of beauty.” She said saving these places “brought me back to myself. . . and that is the gift of these green spaces and the wild places . . . It’s the gift you give your community, and it’s also, I think, the gift you give the world. Because when we have these places, we are better people.”

Thanks to our sponsors, table hosts, and all who came to support Legacy Parks.

luncheon sponsors

more details
jason thompson_opt

10 Songs, Places, Years Celebrates Legacy Parks’ Anniversary

As Legacy Parks Foundation celebrates 10 years of preserving our special places and expanding parks and recreation opportunities, local musicians are recognizing our efforts with videos recorded in 10 of those special places. The videos were released at an event at WDVX’s Blue Plate Special at noon on Monday, August 31.

Josh Philips, president of Pyxl, Inc., who underwrote the video collection said, “We are proud to present 10 Songs-Places-Years. We are passionate about the Knoxville community. The combination of music by local artists in these uniquely local settings further demonstrates the richness of the community we call home.”

Local musicians and locations included in the series are:

Todd Steed at Brian’s Hann’s Bridges in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness

Trisha Gene Brady at House Mountain

Wil Wright at Hayworth Hollow

Jason Thompson at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area

Scott Miller at the River Bluff

Kelle Jolly at Bicentennial Park

Robinella at Seven Islands State Birding Park

RB Morris at the Head of the Tennessee River

Sam Quinn at Fort Dickerson

Cruz Contreras at Mead’s Quarry

Legacy Parks Foundation has either managed, preserved, or helped create recreational opportunities at each of these sites. “We are excited about these videos that will showcase the variety of projects Legacy Parks has worked on over the past 10 years,” said Carol Evans, Legacy Parks Foundation’s Executive Director. “We have collaborated with many different groups and individuals to position our community as a top outdoor destination,” Evans added.

The videos, produced by AK Consulting, LLC, are available online.


more details
cheryl and reese 2

2015 Legacy Luncheon is Sold Out!

The 2015 Legacy Luncheon for the Parks celebrating our 10th Anniversary is sold out, and for the first time 1,000 people will attend the annual fundraiser.

With Cheryl Strayed, the bestselling author of the memoir Wild as the featured speaker, and at the picturesque UT Holston River Farm at the head of the Tennessee, this will be a memorable time for all who attend.

If you have not gotten tickets, there is still one more chance for you! WILD WEEK begins Monday, September 7 with a special screening of the movie Wild at the Regal Riviera at 7 p.m. Tickets for the movie include chances for door prizes from REI and two tickets to the Legacy Luncheon – and those could be yours! Your movie ticket also includes a pass for discounts and specials at participating merchants during the week.

Movie tickets are available online. You may be the last to have the opportunity to attend this exciting event!

Thank you to our Luncheon Sponsors:

luncheon sponsors









And, thanks to these Table Sponsors:

21st Mortgage

A.C. Entertainment

Ackermann PR/Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon

Appalachian Mountain Bike Club

ASLAN Foundation

Avison Young

Baker, Donelson, Bearmen, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Balter Beer Works

Barbara Apking

Barber McMurry Architects/Partners Development

Bass, Berry & Sims

Bill West

Breese and Kathryn Johnson

Bryant Research

Cannon & Cannon

Community Connectors

Conversion Properties

Covenant Health

Dean Smith Realty

Dewhirst Construction


East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

East Tennessee Foundation

Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, PC

Hines & Company


Image Matters

Janet and Bill Mason

Jerry Becker

John Thomas

Johnson & Galyon

Knoxville Chamber

Knoxville Parks and Recreation


LHP Capital, LLC

Long, Ragsdale & Waters, PC

Martin & Company

Melrose Title Company

Meridian Trust

Missy Fit and Fun

ORNL Federal Credit Union

Pellissippi State Community College


Pinnacle Bank

Readers Among Us

Realty Trust Group

Red River Waste Solutions

Regal Entertainment Group


Scripps Networks

Siddiqi Charitable Foundation


SRW & Associates/Merit Construction

Stowers Equipment


The Knoxville Garden Club

Tommy Schumpert

University of Tennessee Office of the President

University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design

University of Tennessee College of Business

UT Federal Credit Union

Visit Knoxville

Waste Connections



Wood Realty


more details
Reese wild

Wild – A Movie with Benefits

WILD WEEK begins on Monday with a special showing of the movie Wild at the Regal Riviera on Gay Street. Tickets are still available and they include the chance for door prizes from REI and a chance to win two tickets to the SOLD OUT Legacy Luncheon for the Parks on Friday, featuring the author of Wild, Cheryl Strayed. These last two tickets available for the luncheon could be yours!

What’s even better is that your ticket also includes a pass for a WILD WEEK of discounts and offers from these retailers and restaurants: Billy Lush Board Shop, Bliss, Central Flats & Taps, Mast General Store, Preservation Pub, REI Scruffy City Hall, Suttree’s Tavern, Tennessee Valley Bikes, Trio Cafe, and Union Avenue Books.

Movie tickets are limited and available here. Come join us for a Wild time!

regal-cinemas-logoWW sponsor logos

more details

Everly Brothers Park

Everly Brothers Park will be a tribute to the duo whose storied musical career has deep roots in Knoxville.

“The Everly Brothers were one of the major influences on the Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.” – Sir Paul McCartney

Working with the City of Knoxville, the Bearden Council is raising funds to create this unique community park of national significance. It will be the only park in the county that celebrates the legendary Everly Brothers.

The park
will be on the Bearden Village Greenway at the corner of Kingston Pike and Forest Park Boulevard. Beautiful landscaping, a small stage, benches, and a signature art piece will make it a stunning addition to the city and an engaging destination.

“We owe these guys everything. They started it all.” – Bob Dylan

The Everly Brothers, along with musical pioneers Buddy Holly, Elvis, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry ushered in the early years of rock and roll. Their close harmony and smooth guitar licks combined with their blended country, rock, and blues style directly influenced The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Emmylou Harris, and others.

The Everly family moved to Knoxville to perform on WROL’s Cas Walker radio show in 1953. Don and Phil enrolled at West High School and the family stayed in Knoxville until Don’s graduation in 1955. They then moved to Nashville with dreams of performing on the Grand Ole Opry. Though they only lived in Knoxville a few years, the events during that time were significant to their later success. History of the Everly Brothers


“Knoxville is proud to be the city that nurtured the Everly Brothers and this commemorative park will be a great addition to the neighborhood.” – Mayor Madeline Rogero


Please help secure Knoxville’s place in rock and roll history through your generous contribution to Everly Brothers Park.

Contribute Here!

more details

First ‘Bioblitz’ in Urban Wilderness Needs Volunteers

Legacy Parks is partnering with Discover Life in America, the University of Tennessee, the City of Knoxville, and the Aslan Foundation to catalog the biodiversity in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. On Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., the first “Bioblitz” will be held at High Ground Park, 1000 Cherokee Trail, and volunteers may help with the project.

‘Bio’ means life and ‘blitz’ means to do something quickly and intensively. A Bioblitz, is a collaborative race against the clock to discover as many species of plants and animals within a set location. Although led by professionals, volunteers are needed to help with the identification in order to cover the most ground. No experience is necessary, just some free time and an interest in learning about biodiversity. Anyone (over the age of 10) is welcome to join us, and registration is required.

As the South Knoxville area becomes more popular as a recreation destination, it is important that we understand the breadth of species and habitats in order to create a plan for preservation and restoration. The Bioblitz will be part of a full-scale ecological inventory of the Urban Wilderness that will serve as a guide in prioritizing eradication of invasive species, land management, and future acquisition of land. The final product will be a comprehensive report of ecological, geological, and historical attributes of the Urban Wilderness and may be used for educational and public research.

more details

48 Hours in Knoxville Starts at Outdoor Adventure Center

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s recent article 48 Hours in Knoxville notes we are “now fast becoming one of the hottest outdoor cities on the east coast.”

And, they say the place to start is our Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. As an outpost of the Knoxville Visitors Center, we have maps, brochures, magazines, and flyers about all sorts of activities. The Billy Lush Board Shop on the main level rents paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and bikes to be used in the river or on the greenway, both adjoining our location on Volunteer Landing.

The author also mentions several locations within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, and admits you could easily spend your entire 48 hours just playing there!

more details
Sunflower 6

Legacy Parks and TWRA Partner for Sunflower Festival

Sunflower 6The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has planned a Sunflower Festival at their Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area for Saturday, July 18, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. TWRA will provide an interpretive talk at 10:30, and live bluegrass music from “Roundup” at 11. Legacy Parks and representatives from the Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club will lead hikes to see the sunflowers at 9:30 and noon.

Forks of the River is located just south of Ijams Nature Center off McClure Lane. It incorporates a large part of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The Whaley Trail, which borders the river from the Will Skelton Greenway and the edge of Forks of the River to the parking area at Burnett Creek Road, are exempt from the new high impact user fees.

For more information, please contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

more details