News & Events

Legacy Parks helps with Maryville to Townsend Greenway

Working together to connect Knoxville to the Smokies

Legacy Parks helps with Maryville to Townsend GreenwayLegacy Parks is working with a consortium of local and regional government and non-profit agencies to advance the Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Expansion in Blount County, Tenn. Currently playing a coordination role, Legacy Parks is helping lead the effort to gather community engagement, refine the Greenway route and create a funding strategy.

You can participate in this exciting effort by sharing your greenway photos on social media with #LoveMyGreenway and from Sept. 27 through Nov. 10, you can win prizes by submitting your photos to the sweepstakes website.

The proposed Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway is a two-phase project set to develop over the next few years, and will provide 14 miles of trail connecting Maryville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is part of a larger regional effort to link pedestrians and cyclists from Knoxville to the Smokies through a greenway trail.

Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation joined Ellen Zavisca of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Organization at Tourism Day to outline key aspects of the project.

more details

more details

Knoxville Gets a Bike Share Program

Legacy Parks Foundation has been working with the City of Knoxville and various local bicycling groups to help bring a bike share program to town!

After researching several options, the group decided to partner with Zagster, a bike share program that operates without costing the City a dime. Instead, local businesses and organizations will sponsor stations.

The initial plan is to have 100 new bikes at 10 different stations, with riders gaining access to the service through an app or temporary code. It will allow locals and visitors to bike around town for commuting, recreation, and exploration.

Stay tuned for more updates on timing and locations!

more details
Collier Preserve

Help Legacy Parks Develop Collier Preserve!

Legacy Parks is working to help raise $50,000 for the first phase of Collier Preserve, an almost 12-acre natural area that will become a place for nature exploration and quiet reflection.

Once transformed, this property will become a county park featuring walking trails, native plants, benches, bird boxes, restored historic structures, and a kayak rest stop on Beaver Creek. Help us reach this goal and create another beautiful space for our community to enjoy!

Learn more and donate here!

more details
carp cup

Catching Carp for the Parks!

Each year, 3 Rivers Angler organizes the Carp Cup, a tournament highly anticipated by fishermen from throughout the region. These fishermen come out for tons of fun and feet of fish, but at the heart of it is their care for our region’s natural resources. Proceeds from the event go back to Legacy Parks to support our work to increase access to our waterways in East Tennessee.

more details

more details
SoKno Taco supports Legacy Parks

A Full Month of Legacy Parks at SoKno Taco!

SoKno Taco supports Legacy ParksStop by SoKno Taco during the month of August and buy a round of Local Motion IPA! For every Local Motion purchased, SoKno will enter you into a drawing for a Weber grill, which will be given away at SoKno De Month on Wednesday, Aug. 30th! A portion of the proceeds from each pint also goes back to Legacy Parks, so you’re drinking to support our parks, trails, and waterways!

more details

more details
TWRA and Legacy Parks host Sunflower Festival

Sunflower Festival at Forks of the River WMA

TWRA and Legacy Parks are joining together for the second sunflower festival at the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area in Knoxville this Saturday, July 8 at 9 a.m.

TWRA and Legacy Parks host Sunflower Festival

Recognizing the public’s great interest in the sunflower fields a few years ago, WMA Manager Bill Smith decided it would benefit TWRA and the public to have an event. “The sunflowers draw thousands of people to the area every year and we want them to understand their benefits to wildlife, to hunters, and help people enjoy their aesthetic value as well,” says Smith.

The WMA has about 70 acres planted in sunflowers this year and while their showy blooms are pleasing to the eye, they are also highly beneficial to pollinators and the seeds they produce provide an abundance of food for several species of birds and other wildlife. Smith also wants to remind the public that the large sunflower fields are only present every other year as crop rotation is important to maintain soil fertility and control pests. The large sunflower fields won’t be planted again until 2019.

The free event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a welcoming, followed by a guided hike courtesy of Legacy Parks. TWRA will also deliver an interpretive talk at 10:30 a.m. followed by another guided hike. The festival will also consist of a wildlife informational trailer, a booth featuring wildlife identification, as well as kid’s activities.

The Legacy Parks Foundation has been in existence since 2007 and has raised over $3 million to preserve over 1,000 acres of land.

Directions to the Forks of the River WMA:

From I-40, take James White Pkwy exit (388A) and stay to the left to continue on James White Parkway. Cross over the TN River and take the Sevier Ave./Hillwood Dr. Exit. Turn Left onto Sevier Ave. (turns into Hillwood Dr.). Turn right onto Island Home Ave. (at bottom of hill). Take the first left onto McClure Ln. just passed Ijams Nature Center. Follow signs to the WMA. A TWRA gravel parking lot is to the right at the end of McClure Lane.

For more information, contact Bill Smith at 865-856-9711.

more details

Get Out & Play Guides for the Schools!

Legacy Parks Foundation and the Knoxville Mercury recently updated and provided more than 40,000 free copies of the Get Out & Play! guide to all students in Knox, Blount, Maryville, Loudon, and Oak Ridge schools. This resource is the ultimate guide to outdoor recreation in the Knoxville region, and will help students and their families discover all the great outdoor amenities our area has to offer – and become healthier and happier in the process!

The Get Out and Play! Guide is a complete directory of all parks, trails, and greenways in Knox County, and includes major regional parks and trails too. Building on last year’s guide, which was the is the first publication of its kind – the updated guide is organized geographically by location with maps and descriptions of park amenities. It is a great resource to help people find places to play to increase their physical activity.

You can find this great information on our 248 parks, trails, and greenways in the online version, or pick up your own copy at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center or one of the sponsoring businesses’ locations.

A special thanks goes to Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission for providing award-winning maps throughout the guide.

more details

REI Awards Legacy Parks Grant for Urban Wilderness Support Stations

For the fourth year in a row, REI is showing its support for Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness through a $10,000 grant to Legacy Parks Foundation and a $6,000 grant to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. The two organizations will combine the grants to fund water fountains and a bike tune-up station within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The addition of these support stations will make hiking, mountain biking, and trail running more accessible for residents and visitors to the more than 50 miles of trail within the Urban Wilderness.

“We are thrilled that REI continues to partner with us in support of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness,” said Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans. “Their lasting partnership allows us to continue expanding and connecting this beautiful forested area, providing a great place for our community to get out and play!”

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 its members and customers play. REI began contributing to the trails of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness in 2014, and has given significant support since, including funding for a bridge, a kid’s trail, and a junior pump track skills feature.

“REI believes that a life outdoors is a life well-lived,” said REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach Coordinator Nolan Wildfire. “We stand by this philosophy by supporting nonprofits that care for the outdoor places our customers love. We’re excited to see Legacy Parks and AMBC continue to enhance Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.”

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, an initiative of Legacy Parks to create a unique, urban playground just three miles from downtown Knoxville currently has two major destinations: The South Loop Trail System and Baker Creek Preserve. The vision for the Urban Wilderness is to fully connect the recreational, historic, and cultural assets from Alcoa Highway on the west to the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area on the east, and south to I.C.King Park.

“Adding Support Stations throughout the Urban Wilderness will help ensure people have a great experience on the trails,” added AMBC President Wes Soward. “Having access to water and the basic tools to keep your bike functioning will make a big difference to everyone from regular riders to first-time hikers.”

more details

Harrell Road Stormwater Park Opens!

One of Legacy Parks’ very first projects came to fruition as Knox County Parks and Recreation opened the Harrell Road Stormwater Park and Beaver Creek River Trail. The stormwater park is located at 7221 Harrell Road, between Karns and Powell. The 19 acres that make up the park was donated to Legacy Parks Foundation in 2008, and the group’s Land Conservation Committee decided to turn it into a neighborhood park.


This collaborative project transformed an exposed clay soil mining area to a beautiful passive public park that can be used by both professionals to teach about stormwater management practices and by the public for recreation and enjoyment of our region’s fauna and flora. It contains two constructed stormwater wetland ponds that divert neighborhood runoff, a rain garden that treats stormwater runoff, established native vegetation, a three-quarter mile walking trail, and a kayak/canoe launch connected to the Beaver Creek Water Trail.

Roy Arthur, a member of Legacy Parks’ Land Conservation Committee, took the lead with this project, putting in countless volunteer hours and coordination efforts. Taking on the project was a natural fit, as Roy is also the Watershed Coordinator for Knox County Stormwater Management and a Research Associate at Tennessee Water Resources Research Center at the University of Tennessee. Roy put together public/private partnerships, coordinated federal and local employees and volunteers of all ages, and acquired almost half of the park’s cost in donations in addition to many other tasks.

more details
Legacy Parks McBee Ferry Property

County Budget Supports BMX and River Access

After great news of the City funding Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, Legacy Parks was once again elated that Mayor Burchett’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal for Knox County included support for our outdoor recreation assets. With $750,000 included for a BMX facility and $50,000 for Legacy Parks’ McBee Ferry Park project, this funding will help more Knox County residents and visitors experience the incredible outdoor resources of our county while being more active and improving health.

The BMX track will be developed in the old stadium at South-Doyle Middle School, and aims to be not only a fun recreation asset to residents, but also a tourism destination with amenities to include restrooms, concessions, and bleachers.

And with a key focus on accessing our waterways, Legacy Parks will utilize the funding for the McBee Ferry Park to develop a much-needed public access point along the Holston River, creating opportunities for shorter, more manageable trips. With a new boat launch, people will be able to enjoy a trip of reasonable length with some of the best trout fishing in the region and beautiful views while staying close to town.

We are grateful to Mayor Tim Burchett, Knox County Commission, and their constituents for supporting these investments in the health and vitality of our county through preservation and access to our wonderful outdoor assets.

more details