Under a large tent on the newly acquired Wood property in Knoxville's Urban Wilderness, nearly 700 business and civic leaders and outdoor recreation supporters came together at last week's annual Legacy Luncheon for the Parks. Senator Bob Corker spoke about the importance of recreation opportunities and quality of life to a community.
Presented by Pilot Flying J and sponsored by South East Bank, Texas Instruments, and Robin Easter Design, the fundraiser celebrates the accomplishments of Legacy Parks and its partner organizations in establishing East Tennessee as a recreation destination. "I don't know of a place that has more opportunity in that regard than East Tennessee," said Corker.
Urban Hikes in Knoxville and Knox County, Tennessee, a new guidebook by Ron Shrieves, Mac Post, and Christine Hamilton, will go on sale Friday, November 21 at a celebration and book signing event at Mast General Store from 5 to 8 p.m. The authors are all members of the local Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club and spent a year hiking all the suggested routes in preparation for the book. The authors will donate all book profits to Legacy Parks Foundation.
The book describes local urban hikes "that not only allow for an enjoyable physical workout, but also stimulate interest in some aspects of the nature and culture found in our community," states the introduction. Color photographs and maps accompany the descriptions of the recommended hikes. A forward by former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe and a history of area greenways by Will Skelton are also featured in the book.
Following the event the book will be available at several local retailers and online at legacyparks.org.
After Black Friday and Cyber Monday we hope you will consider a donation to Legacy Parks Foundation on Giving Tuesday. According to the website, "On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give."
As you plan your year-end contributions, remember there are different ways to give to Legacy Parks. Gifts of land and money, sponsorships, memorials, and in-kind donations all help us continue our work preserving and expanding our parks, connecting greenways, and creating recreational opportunities for our community.
For more information on donating to Legacy Parks Foundation, please visit our website, legacyparks.org or call Cameron Broome, 865-525-2585.
Knoxville's Talbots store at 5614 Kingston Pike will hold a special evening event to benefit Legacy Parks on November 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided and personal shoppers will be on hand to help with your selections. Ten percent of all sales will benefit Legacy Parks Foundation. What a great way to start your holiday gift shopping!
Knoxville is known as a “Bicycle Friendly Community,” and a new program makes rental bikes available at multiple locations downtown to take advantage of that friendliness in the city center. Legacy Parks Foundation, Regions Bank, Billy Lush Board Shop, and Visit Knoxville have partnered to provide Get Out & Play! bike rentals at the Outdoor Adventure Center and the Knoxville Visitors Center.
“Legacy Parks is really excited to offer this new rental program. We have such a bikable city, and these two locations provide access to greenways, parks, the river, UT, and many points of interest in the downtown core. It is a great collaboration,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks Foundation.
Regions Bank donated eight of their signature green bikes for the Get Out & Play! program. Four will be stationed at the Outdoor Adventure Center (900 Volunteer Landing Lane) and four at the Visitors Center (301 S. Gay Street). Rentals are managed online at local.billylushbrand.com or on site at the Outdoor Adventure Center and the Visitors Center.
“Regions is proud to partner with Legacy Parks, Visit Knoxville, and Billy Lush Board Shop on such an enjoyable and beneficial program for our community. Now the citizens of Knoxville and visitors to Knoxville can tour our beautiful city by bike and see what makes Knoxville so special," added Kevin Crateau, Regions Bank Marketing Director.
A new map created for the program outlines three distinct routes in the downtown area and highlights interesting locations along the way. “Our greenways link so many beautiful parts of our city and this bike program will provide our visitors with a fun, affordable way to experience them. We are thrilled to be a partner on this project and look forward to expanding it in the coming months,” said Visit Knoxville president Kim Bumpas.
Two-hour bike rentals cost $19 for adults, $15 for teachers and military personnel, and $12 for youth under 17. Friends of Legacy Parks receive a 50% discount. Rentals include the bike with lock, the new map, and for the first 100 renters - a Regions Bank backpack to carry supplies.
For more information or to rent a bike, please call the Billy Lush Board Shop at 865.322.5874, or go online to local.billylushbrand.com.
Downtown businesses that want to provide bike racks should contact email@example.com or call 865.215.6100. Any location that would like to encourage riders to visit may contact Legacy Parks for a Get Out & Play! sticker.
Among an inpressive list including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness was the top pick for parks and recreation areas in a recent article. See the complete story.
The Tennessee Wildlife Federation named Legacy Parks Foundation the Conservation Organization of the Year this month at the 49th annual Conservation Achievement Awards celebration in Nashville. The awards honor individuals and organizations that have made contributions to conservation in the state. Legacy Parks was chosen for adding more than 400 acres of parkland in Knox County, helping to protect nearly 1,000 acres of farm and forestland in East Tennessee, and raising more than $3 million for parks, greenways, and other outdoor recreational venues. Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks, was in Nashville to accept the award from Tennessee Wildlife Federation Chairman Dr. Jack Gayden.
The National Park Service recently named Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness South Loop a National Recreation Trail. Selected for its outstanding scenery and connections to recreation destinations, the South Loop trail system links Ijams Nature Center, Mead’s Quarry, William Hastie Natural Area, and the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.
The National Recreation Trail designation is awarded to trail systems that connect communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and local parks. A set of National Recreation Trail markers comes with the award, as well as a letter of congratulations from Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The South Loop Trail system includes a 12.5-mile multi-use main loop with easy to moderate trails, and an additional 30 miles of secondary trails that accommodate beginner to advanced users on varying terrain. Many of the trails have been constructed and are maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club.
The State of Tennessee is poised to take over management of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge as the first state birding park with a ribbon cutting on July 1. Seven Islands State Birding Park will encompass over 400 acres along the French Broad River off Kelly Lane in east Knox County. Legacy Parks Foundation has managed Seven Islands for the past three years.
“We see this as the flagship of a statewide birding tour,” said Governor Haslam when he made the announcement at Legacy Parks’ annual luncheon last year. Seven Islands is currently the largest wildlife refuge in East Tennessee, with acres of forests, fields, and rolling farmland, eight miles of natural trails and greenway, and a one-mile paved trail.
At the last count, over 180 different species of birds have been sighted at Seven Islands, a “wonderland” according to birding experts. The Tennessee Ornithological Society states the native grasses, wildflowers, and other fruit bearing plants and trees on the property provide a food source that attracts many of the declining bird species.
The park will be open to the public during regular hours, 8 a.m. until sunset.
The Harvey Broom Chapter of the Sierra Club is working on an Urban Hiking Guide that will offer suggestions for urban hikes in the Knoxville/Knox County area, including maps and descriptive information.
“Our objective is to provide the reader with a list of “recommended” hikes that not only allow for an enjoyable physical workout, but also stimulate interest in some aspects of the nature and culture found in our community. Most, but not all, of the hikes we describe are on publicly owned property in the form of parks and greenways. Some recommended hikes include combinations of greenways, or combinations of parks and greenways, if we feel that by so doing, the outdoor experience is thereby enhanced.”
“Urban hikes” are those that not only provide exercise, but also have a number of other characteristics making them attractive, including less time traveling to and from the venue, exposure to historical building or locations, cell phone coverage, and convenience to other daily activities. One other benefit of urban hikes is that there is generally food and water nearby.
The guide will not include all the greenways or public trails in the area, but selectively chooses venues that offer exposure to areas with opportunities for solitude and enjoying nature.
The Billy Lush Board Shop at the Outdoor Adventure Center has added bicycles to their rental selection. The two -hour rentals ($19 adult/$12 youth) will complement the paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks already available at the shop. Billy Lush also provides group and individual instruction and sets up tours and demonstrations. Check out the options and schedules at local.billylushbrand.com or give them a call at 865-332-LUSH (5874).
Join Legacy Parks Foundation and Missy Kane of Covenant Health for hikes on our local trails every Thursday morning in June and July. Hikers should meet at 8:45 am (unless noted otherwise) as hikes begin at 9. Hikers should come prepared with water, a light snack, and bug repellant. The Thompson Cancer Survival Center will provide free sunscreen and information on cancer prevention.
Hikers should be aware of the difficulty of the trail and be able to hike three to four miles. The schedule of hikes is available at OutdoorKnoxville.com. The cost for the series of hikes is $35 which includes a one-year membership to Friends of Legacy Parks, a performance t-shirt, sunscreen, and Knoxville Urban Wilderness pocket-sized trail map. Single hikes are $10 each. Children under 12 are free. All fees benefit Legacy Parks Foundation.
The Garden Club of America will be presenting the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal for outstanding achievement in environmental protections and the maintenance of the quality of life to Legacy Parks Foundation! The nomination was seconded by Governor Haslam and State Senator Becky Massey and letters of support were written by Mayor Rogero, Paul James of Ijams Nature Center, Legacy Parks board member and noted conservationist Pete Claussen, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, and Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whittaker. The Garden Club of America annually awards 10 National Medals to nationally or internationally recognized leaders in their fields of study or achievement. Winners have included Rachel Carson, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Rockefeller family, Lady Bird Johnson, Walt Disney, and Paul Newman - so Legacy Parks and the Urban Wilderness are in great company!
Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is now featured as an REI GeoStories! Promoted by National Geographic, geostories offer a storytelling platform. A map-enabled slideshow takes viewers on tours of places and topics using dynamic maps, pictures and video and allows for links and social sharing promoting these projects and places. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is one of the 25 destination locations REI selected to feature. Excellent national recognition for Knoxville’s great outdoors!
Donations come in many forms and this month we’d like to thank Blue Ridge Mountain Sports for hosting two exceptional events that benefitted Legacy Parks. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour presented a collection of inspiring adventure films to a sold out audience at the Bijou Theater in March. The Disaster and Wilderness First Aid Certification Course, held annually, featured a 2-day hands–on workshop teaching preparedness to the general public.
On May 17th, Rev3 is back in Knoxville with the Knoxville Kicker Adventure Race. Participants will start the race in the heart of Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park and progress their way to the Urban Wilderness as teams of two or three run, bike and paddle the 15 to 25 mile course attempting to hit the most checkpoints in the fastest time. Rev3 Adventure is offering a 50% discount to anyone affiliated with Legacy Parks — the discount code is AMBC50.
Coming up in June, two more exciting events will benefit Legacy Parks. The XTERRA Knoxville will be held on June 7th at Mead’s Quarry and will feature a 1200-meter swim, 16.6-mile bike ride and a 4.1-mile run. The Stroller Derby is a 2.5-mile greenway run scheduled for June 29th at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center with a 9 am start. This is a family event and participants are encouraged to push a stroller, but all runners are welcome to join the fun. The event is not timed and kids under 10 are free. Both events are produced by Dirty Bird Events.
Legacy Parks appreciates all the wonderful support from our community!
The 3rd Annual Outdoor KnoxFest was fun-fueled weekend providing a host of outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels! The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center was the hub for the weekend’s events and clinics that included paddling, hiking, running, bicycling, disc golf, sailing, fly fishing – just to name a few. Outdoor KnoxFest was presented by Pilot Flying J and was a signature event of the Dogwood Arts Festival. Other sponsors included: 3 Rivers Angler, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Billy Lush Brand, Cedar Bluff Cycles, City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation, Concord Yacht Club, Cycology Bicycles, Eagle Distributing Company, Fort Loudoun Lake Association, Fountain City Pedaler, Knoxville Bicycle Hospital, Ijams Nature Center, Innovation Valley Disc Golf Club, Knox County Parks & Rec, Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Track & Field Club, Mast General Store, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, Metro Pulse, Norris Paddling Adventures, REI, River Sports Outfitters, Smoky Mountain Wheelmen, Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, Tennessee Valley Bicycles, Three Rivers Market, TREK South, UT Federal Credit Union, University of Tennessee Outdoor Program, WBIR Channel 10, WIVK-FM, Sports Animal Knoxville, NewsTalk 98.7 FM the News and Talk of Knoxville. Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped with registration and individual events.
Outdoor KnoxFest photographers Jim McCormick, Karen Clements Wilkenson and Elle Colquitt captured the weekends activities. A slideshow of their images can be previewed online at OutdoorKnoxville! Thank you for sharing the weekend events with us!
Seniors Outdoors is a half-day event on May 16th that will introduce adults over the age of 50 to the Urban Wilderness and all it has to offer. This event is free, but registration is required. The event includes guided strolls and hikes, exhibits and programs, kayak and mountain bike demonstrations, lunch, special guest speaker, Dr. Bob Overholt, and a warm welcome from Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.
A bus will be provided and will leave from the John T. O’Connor Senior Center (611 Winona Street) promptly at 9:30 am to go to Mead’s Quarry and will return to the O’Connor Center at 1:30 pm. Participants are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes, bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and a camp chair if needed. To register for Seniors Outdoors, call the CAC Office on Aging at 524-2786 by Tuesday, May 13.
What’s Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness all about? Join us for a sampling of just a few of the activities available at Outdoor Knoxville. The evening begins at the Outdoor Knoxville headquarters along the Tennessee River where you’ll pick up gourmet trail mix and water to fortify you for your venture into the Urban Wilderness. You’ll have your choice of three adventures. You can take a bike tour along the river—bikes provided—or go on a walking tour of historic downtown sites or just stay put and enjoy the scenery and a paddle boat demonstration on the river. Afterwards, you’ll return to Outdoor Knoxville for appetizers and a buffet dinner by the waterfall as the sun sets over the city.
The Billy Lush Board Shop will soon be offering greenway bikes for rent at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center provides easy access for those wanted to pedal around downtown, head out to Ijams Nature Center and the Urban Wilderness or hop on the Neyland Greenway and visit nearby parks. You can pick up the Greenways and Urban Wilderness maps at the Adventure Center. The Billy Lush Board Shop features a full retail showroom specializing in a variety of Stand Up Paddleboards and accessories and offers paddleboard and canoe rentals, classes and guided excursions. Kayaks will be added shortly. For more information visit Billy Lush Paddle Sports.
Legacy Parks joins an alliance of major employers and the broad business community, healthcare and insurance providers, faith communities, city and county mayors, school systems, and other key stakeholders across the state, in an on-going effort to encourage and enable more Tennesseans to live healthier lives. As a coalition partner, Legacy Parks works to assist the Foundation in promoting three main lifestyle changes for Tennessee residents — being physically active for 30 minutes a day five days a week, eating healthier, and not using tobacco. A complete toolkit is available at healthiertn.com.
The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness is a non-profit corporation established in 2013 by Governor Bill Haslam. Its mission is to encourage and enable Tennesseans to be more physically active, eat more nutritious food in the right portions, and abstain from tobacco. And, because most of us are more likely to change our behavior and establish new habits when we are with other people, the Foundation is focusing its alliances, programs and tools on workplaces, schools, and places of worship. Through its website, healthiertn.com, it is offering Small Starts @ Home, Small Starts @ Work, and the soon-to-be-available Small Starts @ Worship – simple, easy-to-use, and free health tips, tools, and challenges. These small starts can lead to big changes and positive outcomes.
Instructions are available online at Outdoor Knoxville for adding the Urban Wilderness South Loop trail map onto your mobile device! Once the free app is downloaded, these simple step-by-step instructions will guide you through setup. After the map is downloaded to your mobile device, read the “Getting Started” section to learn about the various features available. Some of the features include: pinpoints your exact location on the trails; allows you to measure distances by “drawing” a line on the map; records tracks and reports how far you have traveled; and estimates an approximation on the elevation you have gained or lost. This is a great resource for all who set out to explore Knoxville’s 42-mile trail system!
The Trail Volunteer Program is a partnership between Knox County, the City of Knoxville, the Town of Farragut, Ijams Nature Center and Legacy Parks Foundation. The program offers local trail and greenway users the opportunity to make our community’s park system a friendlier, cleaner, more inviting place to bike, run and play. Adults of any age and ability are welcome to take part. Volunteers are asked to commit a few hours each month to visit their specific trail or greenway. Even a small contribution of time will be helpful, and the experience will be rewarding and fun.
The basic responsibilities of a trail volunteer member are:
GREET all trail users and act as goodwill ambassadors for our community.
INFORM users about the park and trail system, trail directions, etiquette and rules.
ASSIST users who are lost, need bike repair, first aid (when trained) and assist local governments or land managers concerning maintenance and illegal activity. Those interested in joining the program can apply online.
First Tennessee Bank is celebrating their 150th anniversary with 150 Days of Giving. From March 25 to August 21, 2014, the First Tennessee Foundation will be giving away $5,000 to 150 different organizations everyday for 150 days! Legacy Parks would love to have your votes — simply go online each day from each device and vote!
The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center at Volunteer Landing along Knoxville’s downtown waterfront is a hub for outdoor recreation activities and information. Recently, Legacy Parks has partnered with Visit Knoxville making the Adventure Center a satellite visit center. Now visitors can pickup general information about Knoxville in addition to the extensive materials on outdoor activities and the Knoxville Urban Wilderness. The Adventure Center offers stand-up paddleboard and canoe rentals, maps, information, programs and events for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. It is centrally located along the Tennessee River and downtown greenway and easily accessible from Neyland Drive, downtown Knoxville and I-40.
Event producers are welcomed to bring rack cards and posters to the Adventure Center for display. To further help you promote your outdoor activities, submit your event online to the Outdoor Knoxville calendar using the Submit an Event form.
The 23rd annual Greenways 5K and 2-mile Walk/Dog Jog on April 12, 2014, traverses along the most scenic portion of the Third Creek Greenway, and ends with a celebration of live music, plenty of food, and living plant awards to the overall and age group winners. The race starts at 9am at West High School and runs a course that is essentially flat with two very short hills. Proceeds of the race benefit the Knox Greenways Coalition and Legacy Parks. Sponsorships of the race are needed and offer great benefits – as well as benefitting Legacy Parks. Sponsorship information is available online or by calling Legacy Parks Foundation at 525-2585. For more information and to register for the race visit Outdoor Knoxville.
Legacy Parks Foundation will host a weekend of urban adventure at the 2014 Outdoor KnoxFest presented by Pilot Flying J, with events for everyone from the novice nature-lover to the outdoor expert. The two-day signature event of the Dogwood Arts Festival is scheduled for April 26-27 and will feature trail rides, runs, hikes, paddles, climbing and more for anyone looking to Get Out & Play in Knoxville!
New this year is the Mini Adventure Challenge taking place on Saturday. The Mini Adventure Challenge encourages kids and new adventurers of all ages to test their skills, discover new outdoor activities and be rewarded for accepting the challenge! Pick up your Challenge Card when you check in and let it guide you through the dozens of activities offered at Outdoor KnoxFest. Try your hand at 6 of the day’s activities and get a free water bottle. Try 10 and be enterend in a drawing for great prizes. Challenge Cards will be available Saturday at registration tables at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center and the Outdoor KnoxFest booth on Market Square. All activities are free.
The weekend schedule includes:
• Pickel Road Rides led by the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Bike Club - options for 20, 40 and 60-mile rides
• Sailing Demo & Clinics presented by Concord Yacht Club
• Bicycle Maintenance Clinic sponsored by Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Divas Trail Ride led by River Sports Outfitters and Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Fly Fishing Demo & Clinics taught by 3 Rivers Angler
• Hiking 101 Clinic taught by Blue Ridge Mountain Sports
• Urban Wilderness “Walk in the Woods” with Ijams Nature Center
• Wildflower Hike at Forks of the River with Karen Fletcher and local wildflower experts
• Boulder Scramble at Ross Marble Quarry with Ijams Nature Center
• Guided History Hike with TREK South and Dr. Joan Markel with the McClung Museum of Natural History
• “First Time on the Trail” mountain bike ride with Appalachian Mountain Bike Club and Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Greenway Bike Ride with Knoxville Bicycle Hospital
• Bikes & Blooms Scenic Bike Rides presented by Dogwood Arts Festival and Tennessee Valley Bikes
• Group & Open Paddles with Billy Lush Paddle Sports, River Sports Outfitters, City of Knoxville Aquatics and the UT Outdoor Program
• Urban Wilderness Trail Run led by the Knoxville Track Club
• Mountain Bike Checkpoint Race hosted by the TN Valley Bikes and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club
• Disc Golf Clinic & Demo hosted by the Innovation Valley Disc Golf Club
• Climbing Wall and Slacklines provided by River Sports Outfitters
• And a host of kid-friendly games and activities!
A donation of four acres of land by the Pat Wood family to Legacy Parks Foundation will allow for a new downtown dog park and a new home for the Knoxville Police Department’s canine unit. The new dog park/canine facility will be located across from the Public Safety Building on Howard Baker Jr. Avenue. Legacy Parks will help coordinate the project. The gift is the second donation of land by the Wood family to Legacy Parks for the creation of new parks within the city. In October 2013 they donated 100 acres off Sevierville Pike to expand Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness with additional multi-use trails, including introductory bike trails.
National retailer REI has selected Legacy Parks Foundation as their non-profit partner serving Knoxville and East Tennessee. REI will support and promote the work of Legacy Parks to their members, customers and employees throughout the year. REI kicked off the partnership with a $10,000 grant to Legacy Parks to help fund the Foundation’s stewardship of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness and local waterways. Watch for more opportunities to support Legacy Parks through REI as they work toward the opening of their new store off Papermill Drive this fall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if your business is interested in launching at Get Out and Play health initiative at your workplace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.utfcu.org. You can reach the credit union by phone at 865-971-1971 or 800-264-1971.
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!
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.
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 email@example.com.
Become a Friend of Legacy Parks today and help Leave East Tennessee Better Than We Found It!
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.
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”.
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.