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New Property Connects Sections of Jefferson Memorial Forest

Tuesday November 17, 2009

Hiking Opportunities to be Greatly Expanded as part of City of Parks Initiative

New property purchased for Jefferson Memorial Forest.
click map to enlarge

A new piece of property acquired on Monday by Metro Parks will soon offer new hiking opportunities for visitors to Jefferson Memorial Forest. The acquisition brings the Forest’s total acreage to 6,218.

The 27-acre property will tie together three previously disconnected sections of the Forest, near Mitchell Hill Road and Holsclaw Hill Road.

This will allow construction of a new 2.5-mile hiking trail that will provide access from the Forest’s Welcome Center to nearly 30 miles of connected trails in three areas of the Forest – Tom Wallace, Paul Yost and Horine. For the first time, the Welcome Center can serve as a starting point for hikers, regardless of their intended destination within the Forest.

“Louisville is fortunate to have the nation’s largest municipal urban forest in our backyard,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “Through the City of Parks initiative, we’ve been looking to add land to Jefferson Memorial Forest. This strategic acquisition greatly expands hiking and nature education opportunities at the Forest.”

Louisvillian Max Baumgardner donated $100,000 to the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation for the acquisition. The remaining $15,000 came from a Metro Parks land acquisition capital fund.

The property was purchased from Jeffrey Lamont, whose family has owned property in the area for generations.

Volunteers have already been working to construct the new connector trail, with funding from a grant from Nature Valley and the American Hiking Society’s Save the Trails initiative. The new trail should be complete by next summer. Anyone interested in helping should contact Jefferson Memorial Forest at 368-5404 or forest@louisvilleky.gov.

A master plan for Jefferson Memorial Forest, completed in 2008, set strategies and priorities for future land acquisition and facility development. Connecting and expanding the Forest’s hiking trails is one of the goals of the master plan, eventually creating opportunities for “backcountry” hiking and camping.

Jefferson Memorial Forest, the nation’s largest municipal urban forest at 6,218 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.

The City of Parks initiative, announced in 2005, calls for acquisition of new park land, significant improvements to Louisville’s existing parks, development of a 100-mile paved Louisville Loop trail, and new environmental education and outdoor recreation programs. For more information, go to www.cityofparks.org.