144 Acres Added to Jefferson Memorial Forest (KY)

LOUISVILLE, 11/29/06: Mayor Jerry Abramson and The Trust for Public Land today announced two significant additions to Jefferson Memorial Forest through the City of Parks initiative. The additions of the 83-acre Cannady property and the nearby 61-acre Lamkin property will build upon the existing network of trails and natural areas in the nation’s largest municipal urban forest, bringing it to 6,191 acres. Louisville has added 605 acres to the Forest since 2003.

Both properties will be managed by Metro Parks as part of Jefferson Memorial Forest. The properties stretch up to a ridgeline where they connect to Jefferson Memorial Forest’s Moremans Hill section, and will help expand its network of hiking trails, while ensuring continued forest cover for migratory birds and other wildlife. The land, which is expected to open for public access by late 2007, was purchased for $863,500 through a grant provided by David and Betty Jones. The Jones family-in addition to founding the 21st Century Parks organization that is acquiring land and developing plans for parks in the Floyds Fork corridor-has provided funds for previous acquisitions at Jefferson Memorial Forest, including $500,000 to support a 293-acre purchase in December 2005.

“Our residents are increasingly becoming aware of the treasure we have in the Jefferson Memorial Forest,” said Abramson. “As more residents take advantage of the tremendous recreational opportunities available at the forest, it becomes a source of pride that Louisville is home to the largest municipal urban forest in the country. Expanding and preserving Jefferson Memorial Forest, while building new parks and upgrading existing parks, is part of the overall vision of the City of Parks initiative.”

Abramson and David Jones unveiled the City of Parks concept in February 2005. It includes the addition of thousands of acres of parkland along 27 miles of the Floyds Fork corridor, a 100-mile paved Metro Loop Trail encircling the city, continued expansion of the Jefferson MemorialForest, and millions of dollars in capital improvements to existing parks. The City of Parks initiative has $62 million in funding commitments from public and private sources. Metro Parks has completed 181 capital improvement projects worth $23.8 million since city and county governments merged in 2003, with an additional 88 projects underway.

The new properties build on the Samuels and Pinguely family acquisitions, both purchased by Metro Parks and added to the Forest with The Trust for Public Land’s assistance in 2005. The Cannady and Lamkin properties are on Blevins Gap Road. Both of the newly purchased properties are adjacent to the Pinguely property, and will help improve connectivity to the Forest’s isolated Moremans Hill section. In all, The Trust for Public Land-national nonprofit land conservation organization-has worked with Metro Parks to add 545 acres to the Forest as part of the City of Parks initiative.

“Louisville is growing rapidly, and people need natural areas close to the places where they live and work,” said Denise Schlener, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Chesapeake and Central Appalachians Field Office. “The City of Parks effort is leading the charge nationally on creating parks in areas where population growth is expected. These new parks and natural areas will increase the value of surrounding property, neighborhoods and homes.”

Jefferson Memorial Forest is located near the rapidly growing Fairdale community, along the Louisville Metro-Bullitt County border. The addition of new forest land helps provide close-to-home natural areas for the 700,000 citizens of Louisville Metro, along with those from surrounding parts of the 13-county metro area. Improving connectivity between different areas of the Forest can improve the biological diversity of natural areas by allowing the unrestricted movement of wildlife.

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 in times of war. Outdoor environmental and experiential education programs are offered at the Forest, providing learning opportunities for thousands of students and teachers annually. The Forest includes a full range of recreational amenities, including weekend educational programs, hiking trails, camping, fishing, horseback riding trails and picnic areas. For more information, go to www.memorialforest.com.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. To date, it has applied its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law by protecting more than 2.2 million acres nationwide. The Trust for Public Land depends on many partnerships and the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information, visit www.tpl.org.