It was a full weekend of fun at the second annual Outdoor KnoxFest last month! Outdoor enthusiasts gained valuable skills at the Outdoor KnoxFest clinics on fly fishing, disc golf, bike maintenance and rock climbing. Leisure riders toured the neighboring Dogwood Arts trails while mountain bikers set out to find where the nearest trails are from downtown. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness was packed with trail runners and hikers, while the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center welcomed hundreds of children and adults as they tried their first slack line, climbing wall or standup paddleboard on the Tennessee River.
The event was a benefit for the Legacy Parks Foundation. Sponsors included Ackerman PR, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, Children’s Hospital, the city and county of Knoxville Parks & Recreation departments, Disc Golf Club, Dogwood Arts Festival, Fountain City Pedaler, Ijams Nature Center, Knox Revolution Women’s Cycling Club, KnoxVelo, the Marina at Ft Loudoun Lake, Mast General Store, Metro Pulse, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Public House, River Sports Outfitters, Southern Cycling Operations, Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Bicycle Club, Three Rivers Angler, Trader Joes, Tennessee Valley Bicycles, UT Outdoor Program, WBIR Channel 10, NewsTalk 98.7 FM, WIVK, and the YMCA.
Thanks to everyone who helped out — our sponsors and volunteers and those that came to play! The finishing results from the trail race and a slideshow of photos from the 2013 Outdoor KnoxFest can be viewed online at OutdoorKnoxville.com.
Join Legacy Parks and Missy Kane of Covenant Health every Wednesday morning in June and July to discover the wonderful local trails in our area. The 2013 Get on the Local Trails introduces hikers to the new trails in Knoxville's Urban Wilderness and local trails around the Knoxville area. Hikers will meet at 8:45 a.m. and will start hiking at 9 a.m. Hikers will want to bring water, a light snack, bug repellant and hiking poles if they use them. The Thompson Cancer Survival Center will provide free sunscreen and info on cancer prevention. Some hikes are more strenuous then others — hikers should be in condition to hike 3-4 miles of trail.
The cost for the series of 8 hikes is $35 and includes a t-shirt and the new Knoxville Urban Wilderness pocket-sized map. Individual hikes are $10 per hike. Children under 12 are free. Complete details are online at OutdoorKnoxville.com. You can register online at Active.com.
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.
Both new and old friends raised their pint glasses to benefit Legacy Parks on Tuesday, May 7th at River Sports Outfitters. Sponsored by Keen Footwear, the evening proceeds brought in $1600! The event provided an opportunity for us to talk about the work we do to assure that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities and our mission to “Leave East Tennessee Better Than We Found It!” Our thanks to River Sports Outfitters for hosting the event and Keen Footwear for providing the drinks and door prizes — and to all our friends that came to share the evening with us!
The 2013 Outdoor KnoxFest, a three-day festival featuring a diverse mix of outdoor recreational activities, promises to be bigger and better this year! Teaming with the Dogwood Arts Festival, Outdoor KnoxFest will be Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21, 2013 and will benefit Legacy Parks Foundation.
The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center will be the hub for the Outdoor KnoxFest activities. Thanks to a great team of partners, the three-day festival will feature the following events:
• Media Challenge
• Fly Fishing Clinics by 3 River Anglers
• Pickel Road Rides lead by the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen with route options of 20, 40 and 60-miles
• Urban Wilderness Trail and Greenway Runs lead by the Knoxville Track Club
• Bicycle Maintenance Clinics sponsored by Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Get Out and Play activities provided by River Sports Outfitters, YMCA and the UT Outdoor Program
• Series of hikes exploring Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness
• “First Time in the Woods” and “Where’s the Trail?” mountain bike rides lead by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club
• Disc Golf Clinic and Singles Tournament hosted by the Knoxville Disc Golf Club
• Bikes ‘N Blooms scenic bike rides lead by Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Group Paddle on the River guided by UT Outdoor Program and the City of Knoxville
• XC Mountain Bike Race and two Advanced Mountain Bike Rides hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club
For more details and to register for the events visit OutdoorKnoxville.com
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.
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”.
Legacy Parks Foundation took a deliberate step to protect Knoxville’s new Urban Wilderness initiative and oppose major construction of the James White Parkway extension in South Knoxville with a resolution issued by the board of directors Wednesday, November 14th.
In a unanimous vote, the Legacy Parks Foundation board declared their support for the “no build option” for the Parkway and added a specific request to the Tennessee Department of Transportation to consider improvement to the connection of James White Parkway to Moody Avenue; improvement - including a complete streets approach - to Moody Avenue; and improvement to Chapman Highway pursuant to the Metropolitan Planning Commission’s Chapman Highway Corridor Study.
The board's actions come in response to a recently released Parkway environmental impact statement by TDOT and their public hearing on the issue set for December 6th at 5 p.m. at South Doyle Middle School.
“The board feels strongly that the parks, trails and greenspace we have in the heart of Knoxville are an incredible asset that should be protected and appreciated for the value they bring to the community. This Urban Wilderness we’re creating in South Knoxville enriches neighborhoods, promotes community health, increases property values and makes Knoxville an attractive community for visitors, residents and businesses,” Chad Youngblood, Legacy Parks Foundation Board Chair explained. “Traffic counts no longer support the need for the extension and its construction will have a lasting and detrimental effect on our entire community.”
Over the past three years Legacy Parks Foundation has led the efforts to create Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, the 1,000-forested acres along Knoxville’s downtown waterfront that includes ten parks, more than 40 miles of recreational trails, four civil war sites, incredible views and unparalleled natural features. The proposed extension of the James White Parkway would directly intersect two large areas of the South Loop of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness and significantly degrade the recreational appeal of hundreds of acres already set aside for outdoor public use.
Only two miles from downtown, Knoxville's Urban Wilderness presents a unique urban playground for hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. The first phase of the Urban Wilderness project is the newly opened South Loop Trail — 35 miles of natural surface trails connecting five parks and natural areas along with public and private lands creating an unparalleled outdoor venue. The trail connects Ijams Nature Center, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, William Hastie Natural Area and Marie Myers Park with trailheads and parking along the route.
The vision for Knoxville's Urban Wilderness includes the addition of the Battlefield Loop and the Connectors. The Battlefield Loop will provide an historic and recreational experience that would feature three Civil War forts and a city park: the River Bluff; Fort Stanley; Fort Higley; Loghaven; and Fort Dickerson Park. The Connector would be comprised of existing roads and sidewalks to allow for bike and pedestrian connection to both loops. Key elements of the Connector would be Island Home Park, Island Home Boulevard, Henley Street underpass, Blount Avenue and Chapman Highway.
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.
Nearly 600 guests at the Legacy Luncheon for the Parks marveled at the view of downtown Knoxville from the confluence of the Tennessee River on UT’s Holston River Farm as climber Erik Weihenmayer, blind since the age of 13, provided his inspirational accounting of his unparalleled accomplishments, including summiting many of the world’s highest peaks.
After the luncheon, Erik joined a small group for an afternoon paddle down the Tennessee River to the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. Later that evening, Erik was joined by a full house at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center for a book signing and preview of his newest movie, Higher Ground. Earlier in the day, Erik met with the middle and high school students at Tennessee School for the Deaf. A former teacher, Erik encouraged the students to dream big and have courage to transform their lives into something big — to use their adversities to propel them to greatness.
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.
Local artist, Kelly Brown is adding finishing touches to the bicycle arch sculpture that he has designed for the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. The sculpture accents the building’s unique architecture and reflects the outdoor initiative that Legacy Parks has championed with Outdoor Knoxville. The Bike Arch welcomes visitors that enter the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center from the upper level plaza off Hill Avenue. The plaza provides a small park-like setting where visitors can enjoy the Knoxville skyline and overview of the Tennessee River. Bicycle parts for this project were donated by River Sports Outfitters, Greenley’s Bicycle Hospital and Knoxville’s bicycling community. The City of Knoxville provided welding equipment for the project.
Kelly Brown is well known for his artwork around Knoxville. Owner of Bower Bird Sculptures, his whimsical “twigloo” sculptures can be found decorating the trails at Ijams Nature Center, William Hastie Natural Area, Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, and the University of Tennessee’s Trial Garden. An avid outdoorsman and rock climber, Kelly is the author of The Obed, A Climbers Guide to the Wild and Scenic. He holds a bachelor and masters degree in Fine Arts. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony along with the installation of a plaque to celebrate Kelly’s artwork.
Grants from Patagonia and the Chota Canoe and Kayak Club allowed Legacy Parks Foundation to restore a non-motorized river access point that had become unusable. The Island River Drive restored boat launch is a significant river access point with the next access points being 4.5 miles downstream and 9.25 miles upstream. With the new launch, the City installed the first of the new blueway signage. Similar to the greenway directional signage, the new blueway signs include maps illustrating nearby amenities. Paddlers can scan the QR code on the map with their cell phones which will links them directly to a map of the full blueway system.
Knoxville can take full advantage of the national trend with the Outdoor Knoxville initiative. According to the 2012 Outdoor Industry Report, more US dollars were spent on outdoor recreation in 2011 than on pharmaceuticals or motor vehicles. American spending on outdoor recreation exceeded $645 billion compared to $331 billion on pharmaceuticals and $340 billion on motor vehicles. A major economic driver, the 140 million Americans that engage in outdoor activities make a big impact on the US economy and support domestic jobs. During a time of recession in some American industries, the Outdoor Industry experienced solid growth. “The Outdoor Recreation Economy” details the economic impact of outdoor recreation in the United States. This follow-up and expansion to the 2006 report demonstrates that outdoor recreation is big business to the tune of:
• 6.1 million direct American jobs
• $646 billion in direct consumer spending each year
• $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue
• $39.7 billion in state/local tax revenue
This report reinforces the initiative of Outdoor Knoxville — outdoor recreation is a larger and more critical sector of Knoxville’s economy than most people realize.
Friends of Legacy Parks provide the community with great benefits! Through their generous contributions of land and money, Friends help Legacy Parks create trails, parks, and river access throughout the region.
Being a Friend fits everyone’s budget with six levels of sponsorship from which to choose. Each level provides a thank you gift for your contribution. Choose from Explorer, Pathfinder, Adventurer, Trail Blazer, Sojourner or Expeditionary. Local merchants have offered their support to the Friends program by providing specials discounts to Legacy Parks Friends beginning at the Pathfinder level. Friends benefiting Friends makes this program a community effort to assure that everyone can enjoy exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces. Legacy Parks welcomes businesses to join the list of supporter’s of the Friends Program by offering a discount on their products or services. Together We Make East Tennessee Better Thank We Found It!
Legacy Parks wishes to thank the initial supporters for their discounts and products: Apking Printing, Biketopia, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Cedar Bluff Cycles, Earth Traverse Outfitters, Eddie’s Health Shoppe, Fountain City Pedaler, Harper’s Bike Shop, Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp, Mast General Store, Photographer Jack Rose, River Sports Outfitters, Runner’s Market, Smoky Mountain Troutfitters, Tennessee Valley Bikes, The Board Room, and Uncle Lem’s. The complete list of benefits for the Friends of Legacy Parks will be updated regularly and can be downloaded from the Support Page for viewing.
The doors to the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center opened on Friday, May 4th with a dozen paddlers ready to embark on a fun outdoor adventure with National Geographic Explorer, Jon Bowermaster. The group enjoyed a leisurely paddle on the Tennessee River with River Sports Outfitters supplying boats for everyone.
Centrally located with easy access to the greenway and the Tennessee River, the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center will make outdoor recreation more accessible to everyone. Bike, boat and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent on the main level where River Sports Outfitters has opened their newest storefront offering light retail, programs and classes. Coming in August, premium outdoor brands Patagonia, The North Face, Smart Wool and Mountain Hardware will create boutique concept shops within the River Sports Outfitters retail space. Spring/summer hours for the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center are Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 a.m. – 8 p.m. For more information about bike and boat rentals, contact the River Sports Outfitters at 696-2330.
Legacy Parks Foundation occupies the second level and manages the space for public events and activities. A lovely community room, theater and patio with a waterfall setting are available for public use. Recreational, civic and community groups are encouraged to hold meetings in the space for a nominal charge. These rentals for business and private functions will generate revenue to support Legacy Parks Foundation’s operations and mission.
Maps, directions and general information about recreational opportunities throughout the region will be provided at an information center in the building. Outdoor-related events held at the facility will bring people down to the waterfront and get them out to play.
The Gateway Pavilion Building is owned by the city and originally housed the Gateway Regional Visitors Center. In recent years, the building has been vacant, and the city has paid to maintain it. City Council approved Mayor Madeline Rogero’s recommendation to lease the building to Legacy Parks Foundation at its March 6 meeting.
OutdoorKnoxville.com launched February 28th as the most comprehensive website showcasing the abundance of parks, trails, greenways, activities, and amenities in and around the Knoxville area. The site is the work of Legacy Parks Foundation and sponsored initially by Pilot/Flying J and the City of Knoxville and Knox County Parks and Recreation Departments. Advertising and sponsorship will support the site.
The category pages provide detailed information on places to play and activities to enjoy for users of all levels and skills. Skilled contributors have provided their expertise on specific areas and activities that required precise information, such as whitewater paddling and rock climbing. A quick entry in the search bar will help users quickly find the information and resources they need. The slideshows and videos visually promote Knoxville’s resources and users are encouraged to submit their favorites as well as to share adventures and rate favorite places.
The home page features the Adventure of the Month and Inspire Pages. Each month these pages will highlight fun areas to explore, new skills to learn and various products and techniques that can be put to the test.
The year-round outdoor activity calendar is the prime spot for outdoor clubs, shops, and event promoters to submit activities and events. Each week, the e-newsletter will highlight the current weekly activities, keeping users informed so they can easily plan their outings.