Tuesday April 21, 2009
Thanks to overwhelming public support, the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation and Jefferson Memorial Forest have been awarded a $5,000 grant by Nature Valley and the American Hiking Society’s Save the Trails initiative for new trail construction.
“It’s great when you can make a difference with just a few clicks of your mouse, and since that’s exactly what so many people did, we’re going to be able to improve the trail system at Jefferson Memorial Forest,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “Forest visitors are going to be rewarded with wonderful new trails on which they can enjoy everything the nation’s largest municipal urban forest has to offer.”
Last Fall, the Forest’s grant proposal was selected as one of 20 finalists out of a competitive pool of 160 non-profit organizations throughout the nation. Online voting during the month of October at www.wheresyours.com determined the final 10 projects to receive funding.
With the National Trails funding, Metro Parks officials plan to build approximately 2.5 miles of new trails that will connect with several existing trails on the eastern side of the Forest for the first time. These trail connections were identified as high priorities in a master plan completed for the Forest last fall and will ultimately connect to the Louisville Loop, a 100-mile paved path being developed through Mayor Abramson’s City of Parks initiative.
Construction on the new trails is expected to begin this Spring and conclude in April 2010. In total, the Forest has initially scheduled 10 volunteer project days to work on trail construction over the next year. A formal dedication of the trail is expected to come on June 5, 2010 to coincide with National Trails Day.
“It’s fantastic that the people who love the Forest stepped up and made this happen,” said Bennett Knox, the forest’s administrator. “We’re hoping many folks will take it one step further and come out and volunteer – and see this project all the way to completion.”
Metro Parks is teaming with the Kentucky Trails Association to administer the grant. “This grant is an important part of the effort to enhance hiking opportunities at the Forest and in Louisville in general, and we look forward to working with Forest staff to complete this trail over the next year,” said Dennis Crowley, KTA president.
People who are interested in volunteering on one of the project days should contact Sherry Wright at 502/380-1753.
About the Jefferson Memorial Forest:
Jefferson Memorial Forest, the nation’s largest municipal urban forest at 6,191 acres, is a woodland tribute to those Kentucky veterans who have served our nation during times of war. Outdoor environmental education programs are offered at the forest, providing learning opportunities for thousands of students and teachers each year. The forest offers a full range of recreational amenities, including weekend education and adventure programs, hiking trails, camping, fishing, horseback riding trails and picnic areas. For more information or to volunteer, go to www.memorialforest.com.
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