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Outdoor Fun and Adventure Offered by Metro Parks at West Louisville Appreciation Festival

Wednesday July 16, 2014

Nature-based adventure will be on tap at this year’s West Louisville Appreciation Days in Shawnee Park, when Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation’s Natural Areas Division and its partners, including the National Park Service and Outdoor Afro, Louisville offer all sorts of outdoor fun, Saturday, July 26, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Activities include archery, fishing demonstrations, canoeing on the Ohio River, a climbing wall, a bicycle pump track and bicycle safety tips, volunteer-led nature hikes, and more!

The event also features special guest Dudley Edmondson, nationally acclaimed nature photographer and author of Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places. In addition to leading a program on nature photography, Mr. Edmondson will also give a presentation of efforts to encourage greater participation of African Americans and people of color in the great outdoors.

These activities are designed to introduce individuals and families to the types of recreational opportunities that are possible within existing west Louisville parks including Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Portland Wharf along the Louisville Loop and the Ohio River. Various information booths will be on site and event organizers will be asking participants to complete a short survey. One lucky survey taker will take home a 24” youth bicycle donated by Parkside Bikes on Bardstown Road!

Community feedback from the survey combined with other outreach efforts through the summer will help in development of a plan for expanding outdoor recreation-related infrastructure in west Louisville. The West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative would see the implementation of a number of outdoor programs that could include such things as convenient boat access to the Ohio River, improved fishing opportunities, archery, hiking, biking, off-road biking, equestrian and camping-related programming.

The long-term strategic goal is the establishment of the Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center to provide nature-based program opportunities to residents of west Louisville. The 2015-16 Louisville Metro Government budget includes Mayor Greg Fischer’s $170,000 commitment toward the establishment of the center and development of nature-based recreational infrastructure in west Louisville.

Metro Parks’ Natural Areas Division, based at Jefferson Memorial Forest, is spearheading the effort, with partners that include the Center for Health Equity, Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Wilderness Louisville Inc., Outdoor Afro, Louisville, and Waterfront Development Corporation. Metro Parks was awarded a technical assistance grant through the National Park Service’s Recreational Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, to help guide the initiative.

The activities are made possible with funding support from District 5 Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton and Wilderness Louisville, Inc., the new friends group supporting Jefferson Memorial Forest and Metro Parks Natural Areas Division programming initiatives