News & Events

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 cbroome@legacyparks.org.

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

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Urban Wilderness New Pocket-Size Map Helps You Navigate The Trails

The new Knoxville Urban Wilderness map is now available in a handy pocket-sized format perfect to get you exploring the 41-mile trail system that is only minutes from the heart of Knoxville. The new trail map has been updated to include the new trails and reroutes that the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club worked on over the winter. The printing of the maps was made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Appalachian Mountain Bike Club; Knox Revolution Women’s Cycling Club; Knoxville Track Club; Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club; Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Bike Club; Biketopia Bike Shop; Bike Zoo; Blue Ridge Mountain Sports; Cedar Bluff Cycles; Cycology Bicycles; Fountain City Pedaler; Greenlee’s Bicycle & Hospital; Legacy Parks Foundation; Little River Outfitters; River Sports Outfitters; Runners Market; Tennessee Valley Bikes; Three Rivers Market; Vick Dyer Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace Realtor; City Councilmen 1st District Nick Pavlis; Provision Health Alliance; and Covenant Health. Maps are available at the sponsor locations listed on OutdoorKnoxville.

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Covenant Marathon Funds Help Build New Trails

The Knoxville Track Club continues to be a strong partner with Legacy Parks through a donation of $15,000 from the proceeds of both the 2012 Covenant Health Marathon and the Track Club’s Treadin’Trodden Trails Race Series. This is the second year in a row that marathon funds have been used to create trails within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, a project championed by Legacy Parks. Last year’s contribution helped fund the connecting trail that runs from Marie Myers Park to William Hastie Natural Area. The “Marj McClean Trail” is named for one of the Club’s active trail members. This year’s donation will be used to enhance and create trails in the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.

“The Knoxville Track Club is thrilled about this investment in the Knoxville Urban Wilderness Corridor. Adding more trails for activity is a great fit with our mission and our vision. The Urban Wilderness Corridor will provide more opportunities for our community to get out and be active and will certainly make Knoxville a healthier place to live and raise a family,” Kristy Altman, retired managing director of the Knoxville Track Club stated.

The Club’s 2011 contribution helped Legacy Parks acquire necessary properties for the formation of the South Loop — a 35-mile trail system along Knoxville’s South waterfront that connects 5 parks and natural areas. The South Loop is one hub of the 1,000 acre Knoxville Urban Wilderness concept championed by Legacy Parks. The initiative proposes connecting an existing nature education center, three civil war forts, a state wildlife management area, and ten city parks to promote the value of parks, recreation, and land conservation and to act as an economic driver for the community.

The Urban Wilderness initiative is funded by private and public contributions. Becoming a Friend of the Parks helps us continue to create this unparalleled outdoor hiking, biking and running venue within two miles of downtown Knoxville.

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Knoxville Trails Make National News

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”.

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Barge Wagoner Sumner & Cannon To Create Master Plan Of River Bluff

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.

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Knoxville’s Trails Praised At International Mountain Bike Conference

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.

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Knoxville Garden Club Wins Awards For Legacy Parks Exhibit

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.

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New 15-Mile Trail To Connect With House Mountain Natural Area

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.

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