News & Events


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!

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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.

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Forks of the River Perimeter Trail Exempt from New User Fees

Forks_mapThe Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency now requires a high impact user permit for hooved riders, off-road vehicles, and bicyclists at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.

Legacy Parks has worked with TWRA to maintain access to the 12.5-mile main South Loop Trail through Forks of the River. Use of the Will Skelton Greenway and the new perimeter Whaley Trail (formerly Augie’s Run, Bluff, and Dozer) will not require a permit.

The new user fees, which went into effect on July 1, are designed to help pay for maintenance of the WMA. See their website for more information about TWRA regulations

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Legacy Parks Receives REI Community Grant

REI checkKnoxville’s REI store awarded $10,000 Community Grants to Legacy Parks Foundation and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club to build a bridge connecting trails in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The bridge will cross Red Bud Road and connect the new Wood property to the greater Urban Wilderness South Loop trail system.

Working together with community groups, REI hopes to build greater awareness of efforts to care for and increase access to the outdoor recreation places where their members and customers play. This is the second year that both Legacy Parks and the AMBC were named recipients of the REI funds. “We really appreciate what these two organizations are doing to increase the recreational opportunities in our community,” said Nolan Wildfire, Outdoor Program and Community Outreach Coordinator at REI. “The addition of the bridge opens up a much broader range of trails for our customers and employees to enjoy,” she added.

Red Bud Road BridgeThe grant funding will allow the construction of a key piece of recreational infrastructure – a bike and pedestrian bridge across a heavily trafficked city road. The bridge will create a safe road crossing, increase access to the trails, connect neighborhoods and a middle school to Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, and will provide a new commuter route. “We are thrilled to again be chosen by REI as a partner, and appreciate their commitment to improving and expanding our trails,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks Foundation. The bridge should be in place by late Fall.


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UT Baker Center Cites Potential Benefits of Urban Wildernes

baker center logoDr. Charles Sims, Faculty Fellow at the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, recently published a paper estimating the economic impact of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness on the three county region of Knox, Anderson, and Grainger. Though looking just at bike-related use, the study identifies three potential future growth scenarios (local, regional, and national) with impressive results.

An important fact noted in the study is that the trail extent, variety, and proximity to downtown makes the Urban Wilderness unmatched in the United States. “Few cities outside the Rocky Mountain region have trail systems or bike parks within 10 miles of downtown with as many trail miles as the Urban Wilderness. This proximity to retail, entertainment, and lodging implies a greater potential economic impact compared to most other trail systems situated in rural areas.”

According to the report, current spending by visitors to the Urban Wilderness generates $241,498 in state and local sales tax revenue and the total local economic impact is $14.7 million. If the Urban Wilderness grows to be a true regional destination, sales tax revenues would double, and the economic impact would grow to $25.7 million. Becoming a national destination would double sales tax revenues again – with the economic effect of over $50 million.

So, the Urban Wilderness trails are not only an exceptional recreational amenity, they are an important economic asset as well. You can read the entire Baker Center report here.

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Knoxville Wins $100K Bell Helmets Grant!

bike bridgeWith the help of our entire community (and lot of others, too!) Knoxville came out on top of the Bell Helmets national competition for a $100K grant to build a world-class mountain bike trail in the Urban Wilderness. After winning the Eastern regional competition, Knoxville came alive in the finals and beat both California and Minnesota for the award with  26,619 votes!

The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club plans to build the expert downhill trail on Legacy Parks’ property within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. This will add a progression element not available in our area and will attract visitors and events to our area.

Thanks to everyone who voted!




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WILD Author Cheryl Strayed is 2015 Legacy Luncheon Speaker

Strayed_Cheryl_600_388_72-ppiLegacy Parks Foundation is thrilled to announce that Cheryl Strayed, the New York Times bestselling author of WILD, will speak at the annual Legacy Luncheon for the Parks in September.

Strayed walked the Pacific Coast Trail alone at age 26 and recounted both the harrowing and sometimes hilarious experiences along the way in her memoir. WILD was made into a 2014 film starring Reese Witherspoon as Strayed.

“We know how important our trails are to our community, but Cheryl explains how important the time on a trail can be to individuals as well,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks.

This year’s Legacy Luncheon for the parks is on Friday, the 11 of September and will celebrate the organization’s 10th Anniversary. Sponsorships for the event are available and offer the opportunity to meet Cheryl at a limited invitation event on Thursday night, and a special Three Rivers Rambler ride to and from the event at the UT Holston River Farm located at the head of the Tennessee River (3400 Riverside Drive). Sponsorships and tables may be reserved now online or by calling Legacy Parks at 865-525-2585.


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Urban Wilderness Gravity Trail Could Win $100K

KnoxUW-stacked-webPlease take a minute and vote for the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club’s Gravity Trail project in the Bell Helmets $100,000 Bell Built Grant contest. AMBC’s project, planned for the 100-acre Wood property in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, is a finalist in the Eastern Division for the contest. Online voting is open until May 24, when the Eastern Division finalist will be chosen. After that, on May 26, a new round of voting will determine the winner of the three division finalists.

This cool new trail will put Knoxville on the map as a premiere mountain biking destination, bringing visitors, events, and lots of tourism dollars to our community. It will add a new progression element that is needed to create a world-class facility.

Spread the word!

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SweetWater Clean Sweep May 30

SweetWater logoMake plans to join Legacy Parks, Billy Lush Board Shop, and Keep Knoxville Beautiful for the SweetWater Clean Sweep River Clean-up on May 30th. A full day of water activities will include SUP Yoga classes from 11 to 12:15, Neighborhood Barre on SUP from 12:30 – 1:45, and paddleboard demos from 2 – 3:30. If you have ever wanted to try a Standup Paddleboard, this is your chance. Come see why this is the fastest growing sport around.

Then, join us for the SweetWater Clean Sweep from 3:30 to 5:30 as we clean up First Creek that flows into the river at Volunteer Landing. Participants in the Clean Sweep will receive five entries in the drawing for this SweetWater Bote paddlboard, plus their first beer free at the After Party Pint Night at the Outdoor Adventure Center.


Additional tickets for the Paddleboard may be purchased for a suggested $5 donation to Legacy Parks. In addition to the SweetWater products, local food trucks will be on site at the After Party. Contact to register or for more information.



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Hike our Local Trails with Missy Kane

image005 copyLegacy Parks partners with Missy Kane and Covenant Health to offer a series of hikes on local trails during the summer months. Sponsored by Parkwest Medical Center and Thompson Cancer Survival Center, Missy will lead a 3 to 4-mile hike each week, and provide participants with sunscreen and information on cancer prevention. Some of the hikes are included in the Parkwest Urban Wilderness Patch program, and others take advantage of special sites like the sunflowers at Seven Islands State Birding Park. The hikes on June 3 and 10 offer an optional paddling adventure afterward.

The series of 8 hikes are just $50 and include a t-shirt. Individual hikes are $10 each. (Children under 18 are free.) Hikes begin at 9 a.m., but please arrive by 8:45. Please call 541-4500 to register.

The schedule of hikes is listed on

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