News & Events

Pilot Flying J

Legacy Parks Launches New Wellness Partnership With Pilot/Flying J

Legacy Parks Foundation and Pilot/Flying J will launch an innovative Get Out and Play partnership this month that will offer Pilot/Flying J employee year-round opportunities to get outdoors and get healthy. The Get Out and Play Health Partnership will provide Pilot employees with a menu of activities and learning experiences that will help prepare and guide new outdoor adventurers as well as those looking to take their adventure to the next level.

Legacy Parks’ staff – plus local adventurers and experts – will coordinate and lead all of the activities, which will include guided hikes, paddle board and kayak outings, and participation in outdoor events such as Outdoor KnoxFest, Tour de Lights and the REV 3 Triathlon.

Additionally, Legacy Parks will bring outdoor retailers and organizations to the Pilot/Flying J campus twice a year to give employees the chance to learn about outdoor gear, test outdoor produces and talk with leading outdoor adventurers. Participants in the January Demo Day are:
• The Bike Zoo
• 3 Rivers Angler
• River Sports Outfitters
• Bearden Bike & Trail
• Billy Lush Paddle Sports
• Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Knoxville Track Club
• Legacy Parks Foundation

Additionally, there will be a 30-minute “Get Out and Play” talk by some of Knoxville’s top outdoor enthusiasts, including:
• Kenny Reed of Billy Lush Paddle Sports
• Laura Jones of River Sports Outfitters
• Jim Richards of Mast General Store
• Missy Kane, Get on the Trails leader

Pilot employees participating in the initiative will receive a “Get Out and Play” shirt, water bottle and will be eligible for retailer and event discounts. Upcoming monthly events include day hikes, paddle boarding on the Tennessee River, kayaking and a triathlon.

Contact Legacy Parks Foundation at 865.525.2585 or if your business is interested in launching at Get Out and Play health initiative at your workplace.

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Knox Heritage Award

Knox Heritage Recognizes The Work Of Legacy Parks

Legacy Parks Foundation received Knox Heritage’s 2013 Knox County Mayor Award for their work in developing the Urban Wilderness and Historic Corridor. The Preservation Awards from Knox Heritage recognizes people and organizations for their contributions to the preservation of historically significant structures. Three other groups shared the Knox County Mayor Award with Legacy Parks Foundation — the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, the Wood Family, and the Aslan Foundation.

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parkwest patch

Earn The New Urban Wilderness Patch

parkwest patchHike all 42 miles of trail in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness’ South Loop and earn the new Parkwest Urban Wilderness Patch! Start at one of four trailheads — Ijams Nature Center, William Hastie Natural Area, Anderson School, or Forks of the River. The trail system features a variety of terrain from rocky outcrops to rolling fields and farmland with trails that range from easy to more difficult. A pocket-sized trail map is available at local shops and at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center or use the links above to download and print maps.

Enjoy the exceptional nature and views along the trail while keeping track of your miles trekked on the Trail Checklist Form. Once you’ve completed all the trails, submit the form along with a check or credit card payment of $10 to Legacy Parks Foundation to receive the Parkwest Urban Wilderness Patch and a certificate. Your name will then be added to the Parkwest Urban Wilderness Club listing on Outdoor Knoxville. Proceeds benefit Legacy Parks Foundation.

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Legacy Luncheon Sees Record Crowd To Hear Governor Haslam

Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is a Knox County wildlife sanctuary that is currently managed by the Legacy Parks Foundation and Knox County Parks and Recreation. The county will transfer the 360-acre property to the state over the coming months and Tennessee State Parks will begin managing the site in July.

Pete and Linda Claussen’s generous and dedicated efforts in developing Seven Islands were the catalyst for this announcement. Around 15 years ago, the couple bought 200 acres of land and donated it to the county to be preserved as a wildlife refuge. “It is really pleasurable to see something like this reach its potential,” said Linda Claussen.

The refuge is currently used as a wildlife sanctuary, an area for hiking and observation, an educational facility for schools and other groups, a demonstration area for land use and habitat management techniques and a small boat launch for canoes and kayaks. The property is adjacent to the French Broad River and aquatic and riparian habitats support an impressive diversity of wildlife species. Over 183 species of birds have been identified.

“This addition to Tennessee State Parks is the result of a great partnership between TDEC, Knox County, the Legacy Parks Foundation and the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development” Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said. “This partnership allows us to develop watchable wildlife sites and trails, with Seven Islands being the flagship for a statewide birding tour.”

Tennessee State Parks will be working with the Legacy Parks Foundation to assess the needs of the park and implement a transition plan to take over in July 2014. Seven Islands will become Tennessee’s 56th state park. Both Seven Islands and Rocky Fork will open to the public as Tennessee State Parks in 2014.

The 2013 Legacy Luncheon for the Parks was presented by Humana and sponsored by Pilot Flying J, Carol R. Johnson Associates, Gulf and Ohio Railway, and Robin Easter Design.

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Legacy Parks To Receive $200,000 RTP Grant For New Trails

Legacy Parks Foundation received a $200,000 Recreation Trails Program (RTP) grant for the construction of 4.5 miles of new trail in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The trails will provide a key connection between the existing parks and trails within the Urban Wilderness’ South Loop Trail System and South Doyle Middle School and its Outdoor Classroom. It will also be a connector for adjoining neighborhoods into the trail system.

The new Introductory Trail Project will offer a 1 mile beginner bike trail; 2.5 mile mix-use trail; two overlooks; a skills/play area; .5 mile mixed-use trail; a .5 mile hiking only trail to the south overlook and 3 creek-crossing structures. The Project will be constructed on the 100-acre property donated to the Legacy Parks Foundation by the Wood family in August 2013.

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is 1,000-forested acres along Knoxville’s downtown waterfront that includes ten parks, more than forty miles of recreational trails, four civil war sites, incredible views and unparalleled natural features.

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Wood Family Donates 100 Acres to Legacy Parks Foundation

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness expanded by 100 acres today with the generous donation of future trail and parkland by the Wood family to the Legacy Parks Foundation. During today’s announcement at the property, Carol Evans, executive director of the Legacy Parks Foundation, explained the property – located on Taylor Road off Sevierville Pike in South Knoxville – will provide a key connection between the existing parks and trails with the Urban Wilderness’ South Loop Trail System and South Doyle Middle School and its Outdoor Classroom. It will also connect additional neighborhoods into the system and provide a 1.5-mile introductory mountain bike trail designed for riders of all ages.

“The location of this property and the topography it offers makes it an incredible gift to Legacy Parks and the region,” said Evans. “We can offer parking and beginner trails on the flat portion across from South Doyle Middle School as well as amazing views and beautiful trails on the two ridges.”

The property has belonged to the Wood family for many years, and was originally purchased by Pat Wood, a respected Knoxville real estate developer and civic leader. “The decision to donate the property for trails and a park was a meaningful one for the family,” said Kim Wood McClamroch, representing the Wood family.

The plans for the property call for a variety of trails and features to accommodate a variety of users. It will include a one-mile beginner bike trail, 3.5 miles of mixed-use trails, with two overlooks, a skills/play area and three creek-crossing structures.

“This generous donation by the Wood family boosts Knoxville’s growing status as an outdoor recreation destination,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “The trails and skills/play area will attract young families and experienced outdoor enthusiasts alike. The property is a real asset to the Urban Wilderness and to our community.”

According to Evans, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is 1,000-forested acres along Knoxville’s downtown waterfront that includes ten parks, more than forty miles of recreational trails, four civil war sites, incredible views and unparalleled natural features.

“Legacy Parks Foundation is championing this unique asset as a premier outdoor experience for visitors and residents alike by creating trails, connecting and expanding parks, creating an easily-navigated system of signs and kiosks, programming events and promoting opportunities for everyone to get out and play,” said Evans.

Evans explains the South Loop Trail System on the east end of the Urban Wilderness opened last August with 42 miles of multi-use trail and a continuous 12-mile loop through public and private land. The Battlefield Loop on the west end of the Urban Wilderness will connect three civil war forts and a battle site into an historic loop that will ultimately be connected to the South Loop and other parks through trails, greenways and sidewalks.

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UT Credit Union Offers New Friends Benefits

As a supporter of Legacy Parks Foundation, UT Federal Credit Union is recognizing your contributions to the foundation’s efforts by extending the opportunity to join the credit union, as well as receive incentives.

To encourage and promote recreational activities and conservation concerns, as a Friend of Legacy Parks, you will receive discounts on loans for outdoor recreational vehicles such as boats, campers, motorcycles, and motorized bikes. Also, UTFCU will extend a discount on green or alternative fuel for homes or businesses and vehicles such as geothermal AC units, wind turbines, solar panels, charging stations, and hybrid or electric cars. For more information about UTFCU, stop by our locations at Emory Road, Franklin Square, the University Center on the campus of UTK, at UT Medical Center, or visit the main branch at 2100 White Avenue. Read about UTFCU on the web at You can reach the credit union by phone at 865-971-1971 or 800-264-1971.

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Legacy Parks To Receive Record Grant To Enhance Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge

Legacy Parks Foundation was awarded both a $95,000 NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Grant under the Farm Bill and a $3,500 TWRA grant for habitat restoration at Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge. This is the largest wildlife oriented grant issued in East Tennessee by the NRCS.

Grant dollars will be used to enhance the habitat and manage the wildlife at Seven Islands, primarily songbirds and butterflies. The following practices are being utilized:
• Developing pollinator habitat by adding flowering plants to attract bumblebees, honeybees, bats and moths.
• Developing native hedgerow by remove existing exotic plants and replanting with native species.
• Planting fields with warm season grasses inter-seeded with legumes for wildlife.

“Rarely does the NRCS get an opportunity in Knox County to work with local land owners to enhance wildlife habitat on such a large tract of land” stated NRCS District Conservationist Amber Johnson. “The work that will be done at Seven Islands can make a huge impact for species of concern such as the Upland Songbirds, the Northern Bob White, Prairie Warbler, Indigo Bunting just to name a few of the birds whose numbers have been in decline. Most people think of deer, turkey and quail when referring to wildlife management, but it’s the secondary species that are in need.”

Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is East Tennessee’s largest wildlife sanctuary with more than 400 acres of forests and fields, eight miles of natural trails and access to the French Broad River. It is managed through collaboration among Knox County Parks and Recreation, Seven Islands Wildlife Foundation and Legacy Parks Foundation. The sanctuary features a rich natural habitat with over 183 species of birds. The French Broad River, which borders the park, holds over 50 species of fish – more varieties than found on the entire European continent!

While providing a natural habitat for wildlife, Seven Islands awards bird watchers and hikers an impressive passive park for recreation. The sunflower fields are a favorite for both wildlife and visitors and this year the front fields should be showing off in late August to September — mark your calendar!

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Knoxville Urban Wilderness Makes Best Of List

Readers of Metro Pulse voted the Knoxville Urban Wilderness as a runner up in the categories of Best Urban Park, Best Urban Hike and Best Bike Ride in Metro Pulse’s Best of 2013 contest. Winning the Best Urban Park was Ijam’s Nature Center a component of the Urban Wilderness.

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Become A Friend And Enjoy Great Benefits

As a Friend of Legacy Parks you help in the creation of trails, parks and river access in East Tennessee! Through generous donations of land and money, the Friends Program helps assure that we enjoy exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces and that those assets exist for generations to come.

Membership is available at six different levels of sponsorship. Many local businesses have offered their support to the Friends program by providing discounts to Legacy Parks Friends, starting at the Pathfinder level. The following stores generously offer Friends Discounts: 3 River Anglers, Apking Printing, Bearden Bike & Trail, Biketopia, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Cedar Bluff Cycles, Eddie’s health Shoppe, Fountain City Pedaler, Harper’s Bike Shop, Mast General Store, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Pluto Sports, River Sports Outfitters, Runner’s Market, Tennessee Valley Bicycles, The Boardroom, Uncle Lem’s Mountain Outfitters and Visit Knoxville.

Legacy Parks invites businesses and services to offer their support to the Friends program by providing specials discounts to Legacy Parks Friends. For more information on supporting the Friends program contact

Become a Friend of Legacy Parks today and help Leave East Tennessee Better Than We Found It!

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