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.”