Professional Trailbuilders Conference Brings New Legacy Trail, Economic Impact, Added Prestige to Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Professional Trailbuilders Conference Brings New Legacy Trail, Economic Impact, Added Prestige to Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

Posted: 03/07/2016
 Professional TrailBuilders AssociationThis week, Knoxville is hosting a week-long national conference – the Sustainable Trails Conference – for the Professional TrailBuilders Association. The conference offers trail professionals the opportunity to build skills, discover the best tools and techniques available in the industry, and network with others.

To be selected as a hosting site for the conference is considered to be quite a prestigious indicator of a city’s outdoor tourism appeal.

“This amazing city is quickly becoming a trail mecca for hikers and mountain bikers alike,” said Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) Executive Director Michael Passo on selecting Knoxville for the conference. “The amazing public-private partnership that helped create the Urban Wilderness is unlike any we have found in other great trail cities.”

The PTBA also is announcing a new partnership program called the “Legacy Trail,” which will leave Knoxville with a sustainably and professionally built trail segment connecting South-Doyle Middle School to an adjacent neighborhood and the Urban Wilderness. The major portion of the trail building will take place Thursday, March 10, and Friday, March 11, as part of the conference this week.

The Legacy Trail is being built following last week’s announcement from the Legacy Parks Foundation to name and develop the 100-acre property that had been donated by the Wood family in 2013, which will now be known as Baker Creek Preserve.

Construction began on the property last week for the competition-style downhill mountain bike trail. It’s being funded by the $100,000 Bell Helmets grant awarded to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club last year after a nationwide competition. It adds to the seven additional trails also under construction funded by a $200,000 RTP grant to Legacy Parks from the state of Tennessee.

“It’s great to see increasing momentum for the Urban Wilderness and our reputation as an outdoor tourism city,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “We’re grateful to Legacy Parks and everyone involved for their part in enhancing the Urban Wilderness.”

In early 2012, Mayor Rogero announced the leasing of a City-owned building to the Legacy Parks Foundation for the purpose of promoting outdoor initiatives in Knoxville and drawing outdoor tourism, which is now a $3.2 billion industry annually in Tennessee. In 2013, Mayor Rogero, the Legacy Parks Foundation and other partners officially opened the first portion of the Urban Wilderness trails, a Legacy Parks initiative that will total more than 50 miles when complete.

“This conference, the trails currently under construction, and the announcement of the Baker Creek Preserve last week continue the incredible momentum we’ve seeing since establishing our Urban Wilderness,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks Foundation. “It’s hard to believe we started this just five years ago.”

Past participants for the Professional TrailBuilders Association’s national conference have included representatives from federal, state and local agencies, conservation corps crews, landscape architects, park managers, and trail designers and consultants.

The City of Knoxville and Knox County contract Visit Knoxville to promote the region as a tourism destination as well as to bring in business through events such as conferences.

“This team has worked over the past two years to make the Professional TrailBuilders Sustainable Trails Conference come to fruition with the assistance of Legacy Parks,” said Kim Bumpas, Visit Knoxville President. “The best part of having conferences like this here is exposing outdoor enthusiasts to Knoxville’s very accessible outdoor offerings just minutes from downtown.”

In addition to showcasing Knoxville’s outdoor opportunities to professional trail enthusiasts and builders from all parts of the country, conferences such as this one help to boost the area’s economy. Visit Knoxville professionals estimate that a week-long conference in Knoxville can translate to as much as a $380,000 economic impact.

“From our perspective in Parks and Recreation, the economy is not the only thing that has been stimulated by the Urban Wilderness initiative,” said Joe Walsh, Director of City Parks and Recreation. “The energy and enthusiasm of our community for building trails and recreating outdoors has increased exponentially over the last few years, and we are grateful to all parties involved that have contributed to this movement.”

For more information on the PTBA Sustainable Trails Conference in Knoxville this week, please visit www.trailbuilders.org

The following are available for media questions and interviews:

City of Knoxville - Kathleen Gibi
Office 865-215-2946, Cell 865-386-3926 

Legacy Parks - Carol Evans
Office 865-525-2585

Visit Knoxville - Erin Donovan
Office 865-342-4341, Cell 865-306-4341

Professional TrailBuilders Association - Michael Passo
Cell 360-734-7270