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Metro Parks Newsroom

Canoe Access Sites Open as ‘City of Parks’ First Feature

Wednesday May 30, 2007

Mayor Jerry Abramson today launched canoes at one of two new canoe-access sites along Floyds Fork creek—the first recreational features of the massive City of Parks initiative that is bringing new and improved parks to all areas of Louisville.

The two canoe sites – at William F. Miles Park on Shelbyville Road, and in the Fisherville area off Taylorsville Road – will allow citizens to explore a six-mile stretch of Floyds Fork, part of a developing 27-mile “greenway” envisioned under the City of Parks plan to expand park and recreational opportunities in fast-developing suburban areas.

The project cost $160,000, using $120,000 in private funds provided by David and Betty Jones, along with $40,000 from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Services.  The sites are the only designated canoe-access points in the park system, and include parking areas, canoe unloading zones and reinforced creek entry points to protect against erosion.

Mayor and David Wicks canoe at Miles Park
Mayor Jerry Abramson, left, and Dr. David Wicks from Jefferson County Public Schools enjoy a canoe trip along Floyds Fork at William F. Miles Park.
“While we’re developing the wonderful parks and recreational opportunities that will soon be available along the Floyds Fork greenway, we’ve created a way for citizens to experience the unique character of this watershed now,” Abramson said.  “Our City of Parks vision, and the park-acquisition efforts led by David and Dan Jones, will preserve the natural character along the creek even as new neighborhoods are developed nearby.” 

During a canoe trip along this stretch of Floyds Fork, people are likely to find coral fossils on the banks of the stream, shallow rapids and rocky cliffs.  The complete six-mile canoe trip downstream from Miles Park to Fisherville takes two to three hours, depending on water levels.

“Beginning today, we’re providing the public their first glimpse of the new recreational opportunities that are coming along Floyds Fork,” said Dan Jones, president of 21st Century Parks.  “Visitors will be able to experience, first hand, the beauty of Floyds Fork and a new attraction for Louisville – public canoe access.  Louisville has always had great parks and we are working to ensure that future generations will have the same access to our natural landscape and recreational venues.” 

21st Century Parks is a non-profit organization working to acquire and develop a system of interconnected parks and trails along a 27-mile stretch of Floyds Fork, from Shelbyville Road to Bardstown Road.  The organization has raised more than $20 million from private sources, along with $38 million obtained by Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The canoe route is open to a variety of paddle sports, such as canoeing, kayaking and rafting.  Motorized boats are not permitted.  The best time to find sufficient water levels is in the spring and fall. 

canoe guide
Click on the image to download a canoe route map that was produced by students at Eastern High School (1.6 MB PDF File).
Maps of the route and information on paddle-sport safety will be posted on kiosks at both canoe-launch sites.  People who lack paddle-sport experience should travel with a knowledgeable companion, and all users should wear proper safety equipment, including life jackets.  Much of the property along Floyds Fork is privately owned, and people using this “water trail” should be careful not to trespass.

The route is already being used by schoolchildren taking part in programs offered by the Jefferson County Public Schools Center for Environmental Education.  Additionally, children who take part in programs offered by Metro Parks community centers and the Boy Scouts of America took part in an event today at Miles Park to mark the opening of the canoe venues.

“Any time we can partner with local and county governments to provide access and opportunity to the sportsmen and women of Kentucky, it is a win for all involved,” said Hank Patton, deputy commissioner of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.  “We are proud to be a part of this partnership.”

Abramson and David Jones announced the City of Parks plan in February 2005. It includes the addition of thousands of acres of park land along 27 miles of the Floyds Fork corridor, a 100-mile paved loop trail circling the city, continued expansion of Jefferson Memorial Forest, and millions of dollars invested in more than 180 improvement projects in existing parks.