Wednesday August 2, 2006
Floyds Fork to become a destination for school groups
Construction began today for the first recreational features of the massive City of Parks initiative that is adding thousands of acres of park land in Louisville’s rapidly developing suburban areas.
Mayor Jerry Abramson and the City of Parks
team broke ground this morning for two canoe launches along the Floyds Fork watershed. The launches, located at Miles Park off Shelbyville Road and in the Fisherville area off Old Taylorsville Road, will provide the opportunity for a three-mile canoe trip.
“Our City of Parks vision is ensuring that future generations of Louisvillians have access to quality recreational opportunities and natural greenspace,” Abramson said. “After more than a year of impressive fund-raising by David Jones, we're now excited to begin construction and soon see families and children canoeing these waters and exploring nature along Floyds Fork.”
When complete later this year, the canoe facilities will be the only designated canoe access points in the park system. The complete three-mile canoe trip would take two to three hours, depending on water levels. The best time to find sufficient water levels for a smooth trip will be in March, April and May. Each canoe launch will include parking areas and reinforced creek entry points to protect against erosion.
“I've been very eager to see these canoe launches built,” Jones said. “This fall, as we ask the public to begin sharing ideas about what they want these new parks to look like, it will be helpful to tell people that they can explore the Floyds Fork corridor on foot and – soon – by canoe. While most of the construction work will take place after a master plan is completed, it made a lot of sense to go ahead and build these canoe launches.”
The $120,000 canoe-launch project was privately funded by David and Betty Jones, separate from the 21st Century Parks fund-raising organization that David Jones created. 21st Century Parks will soon announce the selection of a consultant to lead the master planning and public input phase of the project. Additionally, the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife plans to award a $40,000 grant to support this project.
Abramson 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 Metro Loop Trail encircling the city, continued expansion of the Jefferson Memorial Forest
, and millions of dollars invested in more than 100 improvement projects in existing parks.
Canoe curriculum to enhance health education
At the groundbreaking event in Miles Park, representatives from the American Canoe Association
praised the construction project. “This is exactly the type of effort cities need to make if they’re going to offer a
full range of recreational activities to get residents to be active outdoors,” said the organization’s executive director, Pam Dillon. “We’re working with Jefferson County Public Schools
to develop a canoeing curriculum that teachers across the nation will be able to use, and these are the kinds of facilities that will be needed if teachers are going to bring kids into public parks for canoe instruction.”
The American Canoe Association, in conjunction with the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation, tested their Paddle Safe, Paddle Smart curriculum with school employees at Miles Park on August.
“Canoeing offers students a combination of physical activity and appreciation for nature,” said Marty Bell, Assistant Superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools. “We’re very proud to help the American Canoe Association develop a curriculum that will be used across the United States, and we’re excited that our students will soon have the opportunity to begin a canoe excursion from Miles Park.”
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. Virtually no residential or commercial development can be seen from the creek.
The American Canoe Association is a nationwide, not for profit organization that provides education on matters related to paddling, supporting stewardship of the paddling environment, and enabling programs and events to support paddlesport recreation. Founded in 1880, this marks the third century that the ACA has actively promoted paddlesports across the U.S., providing programs and services to its members and the American public.