Legacy Parks Foundation opened Cherokee Trail today at South Doyle Middle School, culminating years of work and collaboration between Legacy Parks Foundation, local neighborhoods in South Knoxville, Knox County Schools, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Visit Knoxville, and other public and private entities. This trail connects neighborhoods and provides a new, safe walking and biking route to South Doyle Middle School for students and other community members.
“Cherokee Trail connects the school and provides direct access for local residents into the Knoxville Urban Wilderness,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks Foundation. “It’s a beautiful example of what’s possible when different entities and sectors of our community work together toward a common benefit. South Knoxville residents are now closer than ever to the Urban Wilderness and some of the amazing, character-defining assets of our city.”
Work on the trails started in March 2016, during the Professional Trailbuilders Association’s (PTBA) Sustainable Trails Conference. Visit Knoxville and Legacy Parks helped recruit the group’s conference to Knoxville; Legacy Parks Foundation worked with PTBA to use the building of these trails as part of its conference workshops and “legacy project,” a lasting PBTA community service effort involving over 110 individuals. “Trails provide an opportunity for physical, mental, spiritual, environmental, economic, and community wellness. We thank everyone who helped make the new trails possible and wish future trail users great experiences,” said Peter Jensen, PBTA President.
Local residents are delighted by this safer travel option, and the improvement it brings to South Knoxville’s quality of life. “Cherokee Trail provides safe passage to school for South Doyle Middle School students, and will be used now and for generations to come,” said Amber Rountree, Knox County Schools Board of Education member who serves the Ninth District, which includes South Doyle Middle School.
Tennessee State Senator Becky Duncan Massey added, “The trail connects our neighborhoods with our school, which is great for the South Knoxville community.” Knox County Commissioner Mike Brown summed up the collaborative efforts by saying, “If you build it, they will come. What a great accomplishment for our city.”
South Doyle Middle School’s students were asked to name the trail, and they decided to honor their school mascot. Cherokee Trail runs from the school’s outdoor classroom to the Baker Creek Preserve. The classroom includes a large, hardscaped amphitheater with views of the natural area across the creek. Students work with teachers and volunteers to study water quality and ecology, and the classroom is also available for community use.
The opening of these trails is the first of a series of exciting announcements and events Legacy Parks Foundation will be coordinating throughout the spring and early summer. The entire Knoxville community is welcome and invited to use and explore the trails.