Connecting Everyone to the Outdoors

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Dogwood Community Trails

Dogwood Elementary in south Knoxville actively works to connect their students and staff to the outdoors. To support this effort, the Knox Education Foundation and community partners formed the Dogwood Outdoor Coalition in 2015 to help clean up overgrown trails that existed behind the elementary school and added outdoor classrooms through grants, partnerships, and volunteer days.

In 2018, Legacy Parks received a REI grant to connect this existing Dogwood trail loop to the 22-acre City of Knoxville Stanley Lippencott Park situated at the top of the ridge behind the school.

This connection allowed the elementary-aged children walkable access to the neighboring park, encouraging an active lifestyle, and increasing access to the park from the school, surrounding neighborhoods and the community.


Additionally Legacy Parks began leveraging funding and designing the transformation of trails to be accessible by all.

In 2021, Legacy Parks worked with the school to modify the 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.

Legacy Parks also purchased and donated an adaptive wheelchair to the school. The GRIT Freedom Chair Jr. is a child size adaptive wheelchair that allows children to propel themselves over tough terrain using a unique lever system. The adaptive chair makes it possible for students with disabilities to access to the outdoor recreation areas and allows the students to be active, independent, and adventurous.

This project is an important component of Legacy Parks’ goal of increasing adaptive access to recreation so that everyone can experience the benefits of being in nature. Legacy Parks funded and constructed the first adaptive mountain bike trails in the region at Sharps Ridge Memorial Park, which opened in November 2020, an adaptive trail at Concord Park and an adaptive boat launch at Powell High Landing on Beaver Creek.

Project Partners

REI, City of Knoxville, AMBC, Knox County, Knox Education Foundation, CAC Americorp, Knox County Health Department, Lindbergh Forest Community, Sierra Club, Ijams Nature Center and private landowners

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