Legacy Parks Foundation announced a collaborative project encompassing Oak Ridge, Roane County and Anderson County that will create a Natural Assets Plan for Oak Ridge and the surrounding areas by exploring both recreational opportunities and enhancement of the area’s natural assets.
“Legacy Parks is excited to coordinate and facilitate this project that will ultimately result in the creation of a fully-integrated Natural Assets Plan for the Oak Ridge community and beyond and will complement the efforts of the recent Oak Ridge Blueprint Plan,” said Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation.
Evans explains the guiding principles of the Natural Assets Plan will be to improve access to and enhance the land and water resources that already exist in the area, and pave the way for those natural assets to be identified as core community values and ultimately as economic drivers for the region.
“Once completed, the Natural Assets Plan will be a living, working document that will serve as both a philosophical and a practical set of guidelines for how to proceed in maximizing the area’s natural assets so that they provide a sustainable foundation to engage residents, promote wellness, attract tourism and increase economic development,” said Evans.
“Through the development of this plan, Legacy Parks will work alongside civic and community leaders, as we have done in other communities throughout the region to enhance the recreational, conservational, greenways, and blueways assets for Oak Ridge and beyond,” added Evans. “We anticipate the plan development to last four to six months.”
A grant from UCOR, UT-Battelle, CNS/Y-12, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities to Legacy Parks will fund the initiative. Evans and Legacy Parks Board Member Don Parnell will coordinate the team from Ackermann Marketing & PR, Ross/Fowler Landscape Architects and Equinox Environmental.
“Legacy Parks has worked alongside other Oak Ridge outdoor enthusiasts and organizations over the past two years to facilitate new trail development in the Black Oak Ridge Conservation Area and the East Fork Poplar Creek Trail,” said Ken Rueter, President and CEO of UCOR. “Their knowledge of our community and their success with Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness – and dozens of recreation and conservation projects in the region – make them the perfect lead in developing this plan.”
Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness – an initiative championed by Legacy Parks incorporating 1,000 forested acres along Knoxville’s south waterfront with nearly 50 miles of multi-use trails, 10 parks, four civil war sites, incredible views, and unparalleled natural features – is estimated to generate $21 million in economic impact annually.