Knoxville parks and Urban Wilderness have been getting increased recognition by national media for our exceptional trails and outdoor recreation. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine ranked the Knoxville Urban Wilderness trails third on the Editor’s Pick of 25 favorite adventures — Best Urban Trails. Mountain Bike magazine covered the trails in a blog titled “Single Track in the City” and commented, “This city (Knoxville) of 180,000 has a progressive attitude towards trails and an incredible outdoor community to go with it.” Outdoors Magazine praised Knoxville for promoting its waterways as public transportation by providing canoe launches and lessons. Knoxville recognition was under “The Top Outdoor Adventures Via Public Transportation”.
Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon celebrated their 40th anniversary in Knoxville by announcing a special community initiative — the donation of their services to prepare a master plan for the 70-acre River Bluff property that is owned by Legacy Parks. The firm’s donated services include design work and an opinion of the construction costs. The firm will hold several public hearings to gather input from area residents and stakeholders. Three conceptual designs will be rendered which will then be honed to one final design to be presented to Legacy Parks. Once the plan is in place, the River Bluff property will be given to the City of Knoxville to become part of the city’s natural and historic landscape and a key component of the ongoing Knoxville Urban Wilderness initiative.
The Knoxville Urban Wilderness South Loop was recognized as a new model for collaboration and innovative trail development at the International Mountain Bike Conference held in October. Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans and Brian Hann, President of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club hosted a session on Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness initiatives at the conference attended by more than 400 national and international mountain bike advocates, bike industry partners and land managers.
Knoxville Garden Club members Karen Smith and Tamara Warner took top honors at their Bi-Annual Flower Show for their display showcasing Legacy Parks Foundation. Their combined talents won the Garden Club of America’s Anne Lyon Crammond Award for an outstanding educational exhibit, and the Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award for an outstanding conservation exhibit of exceptional educational and visual merit. The Knoxville Garden Club is a strong supporter of Legacy Parks, providing grants and technical support to several projects, including Natalie’s Garden at the River Bluff property. Our thanks to Missy Kane Bemiller and Jerry Owens for this video presentation.
The announcement of the potential for a 15-mile trail connecting East Bridge Business Park to House Mountain brought applause from the crowd of almost 600 at the recent Legacy Luncheon for the Parks late last month. The trail will utilize undevelopable land within the business park and private land. The trails will provide a mix of recreational benefits for equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers. There are currently no equestrian trails in Knox County.
The initial project will create approximately 9 miles of trail through scenic woodlands bordering the Eastbridge Industrial Park. Over the next two years, Legacy Parks will work to acquire land donations and easements that will allow an additional 6 miles of trail and make connections with House Mountain Natural Area.