Expanding Parks & Trails

French Broad Veterans Memorial Park

A new Veterans memorial park will be created on a parcel of land along the French Broad River on 7-acres that was donated to Legacy Parks by Blue Water Industries. This park will provide a place for reflection, commemoration and celebration, overlooking the French Broad River and the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. Partners: Blue Water Industries, East Tennessee Community Design Center

Collier Preserve

Legacy Parks permanently conserved a 12-acre natural area in the heart of Powell donated by the Collier family. The land is being transformed into a community park which will provide access to scenic Beaver Creek and the opportunity to observe the wildlife in a natural setting. The county park will be maintained by Knox County Parks & Recreation and will include a walking trail, a kayak rest stop on Beaver Creek and Knoxville’s first storybook trail. Partners: TVA Retirees Association, Tennessee Recreational Trails Program, Merit Construction, Trey Benefield, S&ME

Big Rock Pass 

Legacy Parks created a new .3 mile trail connecting Mary Vestal Park to Fort Dickerson Park at the lower Augusta Quarry entrance. This new trail is an integral connection within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Partners: Contour Trail Design, City of Knoxville, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club

Dogwood Community Trail 

Legacy Parks is creating a new trail connecting Dogwood Elementary School to Stanley-Lippencott. This new trail connects the school, neighborhoods and parks and makes it easier for kids to get out and play in the woods. Partners: REI, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club

Red Mill Dam

Legacy Parks accepted an anonymous donation for the purpose of purchasing the 6.43-acre historic Red Mill Dam property and conveyance of the land to the Town of Farragut.

Morningside Park

Legacy Parks successfully applied for a $5 million BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Place grant for Morningside Park, working on behalf of the City of Knoxville. Improvements to the park will include accessible trails, fitness stations and playgrounds, a multi-use field and covered pavilions. The 36-acre park, located adjacent to downtown, is surrounded by university and multi-family apartments, as well as a high-rise community for seniors, including those with disabilities and two elementary schools are also within walking distance. The park serves diverse groups of residents and these improvements will allow users of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of the park.

Read more about the project

Partners: Ross/Fowler PC

I.C. King Park

Legacy Parks assisted Knox County with a major expansion of the existing county park by obtaining a land easement for trail expansion with grant funding from REI. The new trail connects the new parking lot to the existing trails network on the backside of the property. The expansion of these trails is important because it provides new access point into the trail systems for the neighboring communities and will tie together the currently isolated 8-miles of trails into the interconnected loop of 50+ miles of Urban Wilderness trails. Partners: REI

Ijams Primal Playground

Legacy Parks helped Ijams Nature Center create the first of its kind, Primal Playground – an outdoor exercise and training course that utilizes natural materials to engage a full body workout by incorporating landscape features such as boulders, logs and trees with customizable plans designed by a physical fitness expert. Partners: Siddiqi Foundation and Earthadelic Landscape and Construction

SoKno Rail Trail

Legacy Parks is creating a three-mile, virtually flat rail-with-trail alongside the Gulf & Ohio Railway from the edge of Chapman Highway to Ijams Meads Quarry. The rail-with-trail will provide an exceptional recreational and commuter connection for south Knoxville businesses, neighborhoods and destinations. Partners: S& ME, Realty Trust Group, Gulf & Ohio Railway, Knoxville Track Club

Oak Ridge Trails

Legacy Parks is working with the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge trail advocates to expand the trail network on DOE land in Anderson County. Legacy Parks currently holds five new trail easements.

Sharp’s Ridge Playspace and Adaptive Trails

With funding from the Trinity Foundation, Legacy Parks created a playground, bike skills area and two multi-use trails on the 42-acres donated to the Foundation by Allen Dick, including our region’s first all-access, adaptive trail. This new trail will allow users with disabilities to get out and play in the woods! The two miles of trail twists and winds down to the base, connecting the north side of the ridge to the existing trail system on the other side of the ridge. A new playground and bike skills area provides the community with a place to play, providing easy access to nature. Partners: Trinity Foundation, Barge Design Solutions, Siddiqi Foundation, City of Knoxville, East Tennessee Community Design Center

River Bluff Natural Area

Legacy Parks raised $1.5 million to acquire a former civil war battle site – and the last unconserved viewshed along Knoxville’s south waterfront. Legacy Parks donated the property to the City of Knoxville in 2015 to become a City Park. The property is a key site in the proposed Battlefield Loop that will connect this battle site with the three adjacent Civil War forts and will be the west node of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.

Clayton Park in Halls

Legacy Parks raised funds to purchase an old homesite in Halls which became a county park, Clayton Park in Halls. It is a beautiful new gathering place for this north Knox County community.

Baker Creek Preserve

Legacy Parks transformed 100 acres of land donated to the Foundation by the Wood Family into an outdoor adventure destination for adventurers of all ages and levels of experience. Utilizing grants from the State of Tennessee, Siddiqi Foundation, REI, Bell Helmets, and an abundance of volunteer time and donated goods and services – including a major landscaping project donated by Earthadelic – the project includes six multi-use trails, three dedicated downhill mountain bike trails, a kids pump track, an intermediate pump track, an adventure playground, and a beautiful meadow for events and play. The Baker Creek Preserve is within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness which encompasses fifty connected miles of trails, connecting many parks, playgrounds, rivers, quarries and historical sites.

Baker Creek Play Forest

With funding from the Trinity Foundation, Legacy Parks created an adventure play space targeted to encourage increased physical activity among middle school aged children. The Play Forest is situated in the heart of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, adjacent Baker Creek Preserve and South Doyle Middle School. The Play Forest is connected via trail with the rest of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.

Imerys Marble at Ijams Quarries

The 104-acres Imerys Marble Quarry property was donated to Legacy Parks and now serves as a major trailhead for Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness South Loop Trails and is a popular addition to the Ijams Nature Center.

Roy Arthur Stormwater Park

Legacy Parks transformed 19-acres donated to the foundation in 2008 into Knox County’s first Stormwater Demonstration Park. Two wetland ponds, a rain garden, and native plants are surrounded by a walking trail, and a kayak/canoe launch provides key access to the Beaver Creek Water Trail.

French Memorial Park Expansion

Legacy Parks helped connect a south Knox County neighborhood to a library and school by securing the donation of a connecting parcel of land.

Seven Islands State Birding Park

Legacy Parks managed Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge for the three years during its transition from a county park to a state park and secured over $98,000 in grants to fund extensive habitat restoration.

South Loop Trails

Legacy Parks partnered with multiple individuals and organizations to establish the South Loop Trail system, more than 50-miles of natural surface trails connecting five parks and natural areas with public and private land creating exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities. The trails connect Ijams Nature Center, Ross Marble and Mead’s Quarries, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, William Hastie Natural Area, and Marie Myers Park.

 Completed Projects

Accessing and Protecting Our Waterways

Head of the Tennessee Initiative

The Holston, French Broad, and Tennessee Rivers are tremendous natural assets with exceptional recreational potential for Knox and surrounding counties. Legacy Parks is collaborating with TVA, TWRA, Tennessee State Parks, and local communities to help promote the health of and access to our waterways by obtaining land and easements to establish new launch areas, preserve shorelines and conserve farmland and open space.

Natural Shores Project

Legacy Parks’ Natural Shores Project is a voluntary shoreline protection program to promote and protect the health and natural beauty of the French Broad River from Seven Islands State Birding Park to the Head of the Tennessee River. In partnership with the French Broad Preservation Association, Legacy Parks created the Landowner Enhancement Guide, a comprehensive guide of land enhancement programs for private landowners.

Legacy Parks signed the first Natural Shores agreement on Old French Road along the French Broad River with landowners Cathy Murphy and John Manuel, agreeing to permanently protect the shoreline of their riverfront property.

McBee Ferry Landing

Legacy Park launched the Head of Tennessee Initiative with the acquisition of McBee Ferry Landing on the Holston River. This property was conveyed to Knox County and will become a public park, providing much needed access to the Holston River within a 22-mile stretch with no other public access point. Partners: State of Tennessee Heritage Conservation Funds, TVA, Knox County

Beaver Creek Water Trail

Beaver Creek spans nearly the entirety of Knox County – connecting Halls to Powell and continuing to Solway. Working with community and elected leaders, Legacy Parks is helping protect and provide access to the creek by creating trails, boat launches, adding parks and conserving land along Beaver Creek. Partners: Powell Business & Professional Association, East Tennessee Community Design Center, Knox County Public Works, Knox County Stormwater, Beaver Creek Kayak Club

Cruze Landing 

Legacy Parks acquired the Cruze Landing boat ramp in east Knoxville on the French Broad River. Cruze Landing is an integral public access point and will be conveyed to Knox County.

Powell High Landing

Legacy Parks worked with the Powell community to build an accessible, non-motorized boat dock and parking area on Beaver Creek behind Powell High School. This new access point makes paddling the creek much easier for all. Partners: Cannon & Cannon, Joseph Constrcution Company, Aubrey’s Inc. and a grant from TWRA

Roy Arthur Stormwater Park

Legacy Parks transformed 19-acres donated to the foundation in 2008 into Knox County’s first Stormwater Demonstration Park. Two wetland ponds, a rain garden, and native plants are surrounded by a walking trail, and a kayak/canoe launch provides key access to the Beaver Creek Water Trail.

Bicentennial Park Dock

Legacy Parks increased public access to the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville by assuming the lease on Bicentennial Park and building a new launch for non-motorized craft on the river.

Seven Islands’ South Shore

Legacy Parks facilitated the expansion of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge (now Seven Islands State Birding Park) across the French Broad River by purchasing 30-acres in south Knox County directly across the river from the main body of the park. Legacy Parks worked with Tennessee State Parks, TVA, and Knox County to improve the overall access to the park and the river.

 Completed Projects

Adaptive Access

Playing in nature should be inclusive for all users. Legacy Parks is working to create all-access, adaptive trails and adaptive water access so those with disabilities can experience the benefits of being in nature and enjoy the same recreational opportunities. Check out this video to learn why creating these all-access places is important.

Sharp’s Ridge Playspace and Adaptive Trails 

With funding from the Trinity Foundation, Legacy Parks created a playground, bike skills area and two multi-use trails on the 42-acres donated to the Foundation by Allen Dick, including our region’s first all-access, adaptive trail. This new trail allows users with disabilities to get out and play in the woods! The two miles of trail twists and winds down to the base, connecting the north side of the ridge to the existing trail system on the other side of the ridge. A new playground and bike skills area provides the community with a place to play, providing easy access to nature. Partners: Trinity Foundation, Barge Design Solutions, Siddiqi Foundation, City of Knoxville, East Tennessee Community Design Center

Powell High Landing

Legacy Parks worked with the Powell community to build an accessible, non-motorized boat dock and parking area on Beaver Creek behind Powell High School. This new access point makes paddling the creek much easier for all. Partners: Cannon & Cannon, Joseph Constrcution Company, Aubrey’s Inc. and a grant from TWRA

 Completed Projects

Establishing Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, a recreational, cultural, and historic preservation initiative launched by Legacy Parks Foundation in 2008, incorporates over 1,000 forested acres along downtown’s south waterfront. It is a spectacular outdoor adventure area where you can hike, bike, climb, paddle or just wander in the woods – all within the heart of the city.

Over 50 miles of  trails and greenways connect you to a beautiful nature center, pristine lakes, historic sites, dramatic quarries, adventure playgrounds, five city parks and a 500-acre wildlife area. You’ll find adventures for everyone – from the hair-raising, double-black diamond Devil’s Racetrack mountain bike trail to the family-friendly Baker Creek Play Forest – within minutes of Knoxville’s restaurants ans hops. Have the best of both adventures – urban and wilderness – in one breathtaking destination.

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is currently composed of seven recreational areas connected by trails that offer a variety of outdoor activities. The signed 12.5-mile loop connects Ijams Nature Center, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, Anderson School Trails, William Hastie Natural Area, and Marie Myers Park. The new Baker Creek Preserve, and Baker Creek Play Forest. Combined, over 50 miles of multi-use, natural surface trails offer exciting opportunities for any outdoor activity.

Two additional destinations within the Urban Wilderness — connected to the system by road and sidewalk — offer unique recreational access to Civil War sites at Fort Dickerson Park and Fort Higley at Highground Park. Additionally, work is underway to expand Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness south by way of trails and greenways to include I.C. King Park.

Eleven parking areas are available featuring kiosks with trail information. Restrooms and water are available at Ijams Nature Center and Ijams Quarry. Please plan ahead and be prepared for your adventure.

Dogwood Trail

With funding from an REI grant, Legacy Parks is creating a new trail connecting Dogwood Elementary School to Stanley-Lippencott. This new trail connects the school, neighborhoods and parks and makes it easier for kids to get out and play in the woods.

Ijams Primal Playground 

Legacy Parks secured a $15,000 grant from the Siddiqi Foundation to help create the first of its kind, Primal Playground – an outdoor exercise and training course that will utilize natural materials to engage a full body workout by incorporating landscape features such as boulders, logs and tress with customizable plans designed by a physical fitness expert.

SoKno Rail Trail

Legacy Parks is creating a three-mile, virtually flat rail-with-trail alongside the G & O Railway from the edge of Chapman Highway to Ijams Meads Quarry. The rail-with-trail will provide an exceptional recreational and commuter connection for south Knoxville businesses, neighborhoods and destinations.

Baker Creek Preserve

Legacy Parks transformed 100 acres of land donated to the Foundation by the Wood Family into an outdoor adventure destination for adventurers of all ages and levels of experience. Utilizing grants from the State of Tennessee, Siddiqi Foundation, REI, Bell Helmets, and an abundance of volunteer time and donated goods and services – including a major landscaping project donated by Earthadelic – the property now includes six multi-use trails, three dedicated downhill mountain bike trails, a kids pump track, an intermediate pump track, an adventure playground, and a beautiful meadow for events and play. The Baker Creek Preserve connects directly into the existing 42-mile South Loop Trails System to grow Knoxville’s urban trail system to fifty connected miles.

Baker Creek Play Forest

Legacy Parks created an adventure play space targeted to encourage increased physical activity among middle school aged children. The Play Forest is situated in the heart of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, adjacent Baker Creek Preserve and South Doyle Middle School. The Play Forest is connected via trail with the rest of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.

South Loop Trails

Legacy Parks partnered with multiple individuals and organizations to establish the South Loop Trail system, more than 50-miles of natural surface trails connecting five parks and natural areas with public and private land creating exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities. The trails connect Ijams Nature Center, Ross Marble and Mead’s Quarries, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, William Hastie Natural Area, and Marie Myers Park.

River Bluff Natural Area

A former civil war battle site, Legacy Parks permanently preserved the last un-conserved viewshed along Knoxville’s south waterfront. The property is a key site in proposed Battlefield Loop that will connect this battle site with the three adjacent Civil War forts and will be the west node of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.

 Imerys Marble at Ijams Quarries

The 104-acres Imerys Marble Quarry property was donated to Legacy Parks and now serves as a major trailhead for Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness South Loop Trails and is a popular addition to the Ijams Nature Center.

 Completed Projects

Supporting Grassroots Projects

Legacy Parks supports community groups that that wish to undertake a park-related project by serving as their non-profit fiscal agent. Over the past 10 years Legacy Parks has helped facilitate more than 15 projects and groups to include the following:

  • Bearden Council
  • Knoxville Skatepark
  • East Tennessee’s Bridge Park
  • Everly Brothers Park
  • Forever Parks Foundation
  • Fountain City Skatepark
  • Friends of Seven Islands State Birding Park
  • Highland Avenue Park
  • Knoxville Extreme Sports
  • Knoxville Police Department Canine Facility
  • PetSafe Dog Parks
  • RiverHill Gateway Neighborhood
  • South Doyle Middle School Outdoor Classroom
  • South Knoxville Alliance
  • Trees Knoxville
  • Zaevion Dobson Memorial Playground and Park


Support specific active projects by making a donation through the linked names above. For projects without links, please contact us at 865-525-2585 to learn more. To help Legacy Parks continue its work throughout the community, become a Friend of Legacy Parks.

Outdoor Knoxville Initiative

Legacy Parks’ Outdoor Knoxville initiative has a goal of making Knoxville’s incredible natural and recreation assets an economic driver for our region.

The initiative includes:

  • Transforming a city building into the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, a destination where residents and visitor can get gear and learn how to recreate in the region
  • Creating and operating OutdoorKnoxville.com, a comprehensive website with events, activities, organizations, products, and other information, making it easy for anyone to get out and play
  • Assisting organizations and groups – both local and national – produce outdoor events; and educating and advocating for more outdoor recreational opportunities.