Connecting Everyone to the Outdoors

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Access for All Initiative

Playing in nature should be inclusive for all users. That’s why we are working to create all-access, adaptive trails in each quadrant of the county, and adding adaptive access points along our waterways so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of being outdoors.

Accessible Biking

In the Woods

In 2019, through a $150,000 grant from the Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee, we researched, designed and created the first adaptive nature trail in our region at Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park in north Knoxville.

With the knowledge and expertise gained from Sharp’s Ridge and a grant from retailer REI, Legacy Parks help build the second adaptive trail in west Knoxville at Concord Park. We modified an existing trail to allow for adaptive access by creating a wider path, gently rolling berms, pull-off rest points and signage to describe the grade and adaptive usage. The trail was completed in 2021.

Also that year, Legacy Parks worked with Dogwood Elementary school in south Knoxville to modify and existing trail and create an adaptive, all-access trail to accommodate off-road wheelchairs so that all children can access and utilize the existing outdoor classrooms and trails. The modifications to the trail included a wider footprint to accommodate the width of the wheelchair, pull-offs to rest and turn around and gentler grades for the trail. A rubberized pathway was also added from the back of the elementary school to connect the school directly to the trail.

On the Water

Our Head of the Tennessee Initiative brings together TVA, TWRA, Tennessee State Parks, Knox County and local communities to increase public access to the French Broad and Holston Rivers from the tailwaters to the head of the Tennessee River. The goal of the initiative is to enhance the health and accessibility to our waterways by establishing­­­ new launches, preserving shorelines and conserving farmland and open space along these rivers.

In 2012 with the expansion of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge (now Seven Islands State Birding Park), Legacy Parks purchased 30 acres directly across the river from the main body of the park, significantly improving the overall access to the park and the river.

The following year, Legacy Parks enhanced Mutton Hollow Landing with a new and improved public boat launch, new parking lot and improved road access. This launch is located on the south side of the French Broad River across from Seven Islands.

In 2021, Legacy Parks acquired Cruze Landing boat ramp on the French Broad River from a private landowner. Cruze Landing is a heavily used and integral public access point on the river. Plans include upgrading the the boat ramp and installing a fully adaptive dock to ensure accessibility for all.

In 2014, Legacy Parks negotiated a lease for the waterfront Bicentennial Park and built a dock to launch canoes and kayak into the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville.

These new access points combined with two existing adaptive launches create the vision of a 25-mile paddling experience accessible to all.

Legacy Parks is also working on the Beaver Creek Water Trail in Powell to acquire creekside property for parks and creek access and with funding and installing adaptive docks at strategic locations along Beaver Creek. To date, Legacy Parks has installed the first adaptive dock at Aubrey’s Launch at Powell High School Landing and two more docks are slated for installation in 2024.

Project Partners 

Trinity Health Foundation, REI, AMBC, Contour Trail Design, TVA, TWRA, BoardSafe Docks, City of Knoxville, Knox County

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