Conservation at Work: Knoxville’s Lakeshore Park
In November 2016, The Land Trust for Tennessee joined the City of Knoxville in celebrating a conservation win for Knoxville’s residents and visitors: the permanent protection of Lakeshore Park.
Two and a half years later, Lakeshore Park Conservancy, the nonprofit corporation that manages the park on the City’s behalf, is fully immersed in developing an updated natural master plan. Exciting projects are underway, and the city is truly embracing its forever-protected park.
It is our responsibility to be good stewards and ensure that it endures and thrives for generations to come.Connor Coffey, Executive Director of Lakeshore Park Conservancy
“It’s Your Park”
Boasting 185 acres along the Tennessee River, Lakeshore Park is the most visited public park in Knoxville – and with approximately one million annual visitors, it looks as though the city has truly taken to heart the park’s motto, “It’s your park.”
“There is seemingly boundless affection for Lakeshore Park among many, many Knoxvillians, for which we are so grateful and fortunate,” said Connor Coffey Executive Director of Lakeshore Park Conservancy.
On any given day, one can expect to see a combination of walkers, runners, picnics, youth sporting programs, drone enthusiasts, dog walkers, weddings, and other social events taking place at the park. “One of the core goals of the Conservancy is to harness this enthusiasm into further action and support for the park,” Connor said.
Building on such enthusiasm came to pass in a big way in 2018, when Scripps Networks Interactive (now Discovery, Inc.) made a $3 million gift to the park for the creation of a scenic overlook. Construction began in February 2019 on a large plaza encircled by an esplanade lined with 40 new Black Gum trees, which will be used a community gathering space. The HGTV Overlook will replace Circle Drive, which runs through the park. Completion is anticipated for Fall 2019.
“We believe it’s going to be a very compelling addition and a major draw for first-time park-goers,” Connor said. “We are also holding our first internal benefit fundraiser – Summer Picnic at Lakeshore Park – on June 15. It will be a terrific way to spend a lovely summer evening in the Park with friends and family while supporting the care and maintenance of Lakeshore Park.”
The Conservancy now has two staff members and is in the process of establishing volunteer programs and a formalized corps to help with park care and upkeep. Volunteers recently came together to work on a woodland marsh restoration project.
Connor emphasized how much of a special place Lakeshore Park is to so many, noting “it is our responsibility to be good stewards and ensure that it endures and thrives for generations to come.”
We understand how important and necessary it is for communities to have places to call their own, from family farms providing food and natural resources to wide, open spaces where we can gather, celebrate, and play. Without communities and partners working together – without people – projects like Lakeshore Park would not be possible.
We are grateful to partner with Lakeshore Park Conservancy in permanently protecting a special place that has become part of home to so many.
Interested in getting involved at Lakeshore Park?
- For more information on volunteering, please contact the Lakeshore Park Conservancy office at (865) 215-1722.
- Join the upcoming Summer Picnic at Lakeshore Park on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Click here for details.
- Visit the park’s website for more details: https://lakeshoreparkknoxville.org/
Your generosity supports the permanent protection of places like Lakeshore Park and our commitment to forever conserve these irreplaceable landscapes. Please consider a gift to The Land Trust to support conservation in both our communities and wild, open spaces across Tennessee.
Photos courtesy of Lakeshore Park Conservancy