Among an impressive list including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness was the top pick for parks and recreation areas in a recent article. See the complete story.
The Tennessee Wildlife Federation named Legacy Parks Foundation the Conservation Organization of the Year this month at the 49th annual Conservation Achievement Awards celebration in Nashville. The awards honor individuals and organizations that have made contributions to conservation in the state. Legacy Parks was chosen for adding more than 400 acres of parkland in Knox County, helping to protect nearly 1,000 acres of farm and forestland in East Tennessee, and raising more than $3 million for parks, greenways, and other outdoor recreational venues. Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks, was in Nashville to accept the award from Tennessee Wildlife Federation Chairman Dr. Jack Gayden.
The National Park Service recently named Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness South Loop a National Recreation Trail. Selected for its outstanding scenery and connections to recreation destinations, the South Loop trail system links Ijams Nature Center, Mead’s Quarry, William Hastie Natural Area, and the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.
Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans and board member Susan Williams were in Nashville on June 6, National Trails Day, to receive the award.
The National Recreation Trail designation is awarded to trail systems that connect communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and local parks. A set of National Recreation Trail markers comes with the award, as well as a letter of congratulations from Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The South Loop Trail system includes a 12.5-mile multi-use main loop with easy to moderate trails, and an additional 30 miles of secondary trails that accommodate beginner to advanced users on varying terrain. Many of the trails have been constructed and are maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club.
The Garden Club of America will be presenting the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal for outstanding achievement in environmental protections and the maintenance of the quality of life to Legacy Parks Foundation! The nomination was seconded by Governor Haslam and State Senator Becky Massey and letters of support were written by Mayor Rogero, Paul James of Ijams Nature Center, Legacy Parks board member and noted conservationist Pete Claussen, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, and Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whittaker. The Garden Club of America annually awards 10 National Medals to nationally or internationally recognized leaders in their fields of study or achievement. Winners have included Rachel Carson, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Rockefeller family, Lady Bird Johnson, Walt Disney, and Paul Newman – so Legacy Parks and the Urban Wilderness are in great company!
Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is now featured as an REI GeoStories! Promoted by National Geographic, geostories offer a storytelling platform. A map-enabled slideshow takes viewers on tours of places and topics using dynamic maps, pictures and video and allows for links and social sharing promoting these projects and places. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is one of the 25 destination locations REI selected to feature. Excellent national recognition for Knoxville’s great outdoors!
Donations come in many forms and this month we’d like to thank Blue Ridge Mountain Sports for hosting two exceptional events that benefitted Legacy Parks. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour presented a collection of inspiring adventure films to a sold out audience at the Bijou Theater in March. The Disaster and Wilderness First Aid Certification Course, held annually, featured a 2-day hands–on workshop teaching preparedness to the general public.
On May 17th, Rev3 is back in Knoxville with the Knoxville Kicker Adventure Race. Participants will start the race in the heart of Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park and progress their way to the Urban Wilderness as teams of two or three run, bike and paddle the 15 to 25 mile course attempting to hit the most checkpoints in the fastest time. Rev3 Adventure is offering a 50% discount to anyone affiliated with Legacy Parks — the discount code is AMBC50.
Coming up in June, two more exciting events will benefit Legacy Parks. The XTERRA Knoxville will be held on June 7th at Mead’s Quarry and will feature a 1200-meter swim, 16.6-mile bike ride and a 4.1-mile run. The Stroller Derby is a 2.5-mile greenway run scheduled for June 29th at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center with a 9 am start. This is a family event and participants are encouraged to push a stroller, but all runners are welcome to join the fun. The event is not timed and kids under 10 are free. Both events are produced by Dirty Bird Events.
Legacy Parks appreciates all the wonderful support from our community!
The 3rd Annual Outdoor KnoxFest was fun-fueled weekend providing a host of outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels! The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center was the hub for the weekend’s events and clinics that included paddling, hiking, running, bicycling, disc golf, sailing, fly fishing – just to name a few. Outdoor KnoxFest was presented by Pilot Flying J and was a signature event of the Dogwood Arts Festival. Other sponsors included: 3 Rivers Angler, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Billy Lush Brand, Cedar Bluff Cycles, City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation, Concord Yacht Club, Cycology Bicycles, Eagle Distributing Company, Fort Loudoun Lake Association, Fountain City Pedaler, Knoxville Bicycle Hospital, Ijams Nature Center, Innovation Valley Disc Golf Club, Knox County Parks & Rec, Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Track & Field Club, Mast General Store, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, Metro Pulse, Norris Paddling Adventures, REI, River Sports Outfitters, Smoky Mountain Wheelmen, Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, Tennessee Valley Bicycles, Three Rivers Market, TREK South, UT Federal Credit Union, University of Tennessee Outdoor Program, WBIR Channel 10, WIVK-FM, Sports Animal Knoxville, NewsTalk 98.7 FM the News and Talk of Knoxville. Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped with registration and individual events.
Outdoor KnoxFest photographers Jim McCormick, Karen Clements Wilkenson and Elle Colquitt captured the weekends activities. A slideshow of their images can be previewed online at OutdoorKnoxville! Thank you for sharing the weekend events with us!
Seniors Outdoors is a half-day event on May 16th that will introduce adults over the age of 50 to the Urban Wilderness and all it has to offer. This event is free, but registration is required. The event includes guided strolls and hikes, exhibits and programs, kayak and mountain bike demonstrations, lunch, special guest speaker Dr. Bob Overholt, and a warm welcome from Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.
A bus will be provided and will leave from the John T. O’Connor Senior Center (611 Winona Street) promptly at 9:30 am to go to Mead’s Quarry and will return to the O’Connor Center at 1:30 pm. Participants are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes, bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and a camp chair if needed. To register for Seniors Outdoors, call the CAC Office on Aging at 524-2786 by Tuesday, May 13.
What’s Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness all about? Join us for a sampling of just a few of the activities available at Outdoor Knoxville. The evening begins at the Outdoor Knoxville headquarters along the Tennessee River where you’ll pick up gourmet trail mix and water to fortify you for your venture into the Urban Wilderness. You’ll have your choice of three adventures. You can take a bike tour along the river—bikes provided—or go on a walking tour of historic downtown sites or just stay put and enjoy the scenery and a paddle boat demonstration on the river. Afterwards, you’ll return to Outdoor Knoxville for appetizers and a buffet dinner by the waterfall as the sun sets over the city.
The Billy Lush Board Shop will soon be offering greenway bikes for rent at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center provides easy access for those wanted to pedal around downtown, head out to Ijams Nature Center and the Urban Wilderness or hop on the Neyland Greenway and visit nearby parks. You can pick up the Greenways and Urban Wilderness maps at the Adventure Center. The Billy Lush Board Shop features a full retail showroom specializing in a variety of Stand Up Paddleboards and accessories and offers paddleboard and canoe rentals, classes and guided excursions. Kayaks will be added shortly. For more information visit Billy Lush Board Shop’s website.