Connecting Everyone to the Outdoors

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Baker Creek Play Forest

In 2017, Legacy Parks created the first middle school playground in our region. The play space was designed specifically to encourage increased physical activity among middle school aged children.

The Baker Creek Play Forest is located in the heart of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, and is connected by trail to the adjacent Baker Creek Preserve and South Doyle Middle School. With large structures for climbing, sliding, swinging and socializing tucked between towering trees, the Play Forest meets the requests of local students who participated in the research used to design the space.

After interviewing students, teachers and parents from South Doyle Middle School to get their opinions about elements they would like to see in the play area, Ross/Fowler applied the research to the play space design, choosing structures that reflect the students’ desire to climb, swing and gather.

Legacy Parks was awarded a two-phase grant from the Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee, which funded the research, planning and construction of the Play Forest. The elements of the park are not only fun and challenging for the target age group, but are also intended to combat obesity and inactivity for the age range at which the greatest decline in physical activity occurs.

The Play Forest is easily accessible to South Knoxville students, their families and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Features of the Play Forest provide plenty of space to run and jump:

  • Traditional and web net swings
  • Stacked log structure for climbing
  • A tall winding slide
  • A council-ring-style bench area
  • Trails between structures for walking and biking

Project Partners 

Knox County Schools, Knox County Health Department, Ross/Fowler, Bryant Research, City of Knoxville

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