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Baker Creek Preserve: Stunning Views, Thrilling Downhill Trails 
City officials take a look down the Devil's Racetrack Downhill trail under construction at Baker Creek Preserve.
City officials take a look down the Devil's Racetrack downhill trail under construction at Baker Creek Preserve.

Earlier this week, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and a group of City officials toured the 100-acre Baker Creek Preserve - a unique, scenic tract donated by the Wood family to Legacy Parks Foundation in 2013 that's currently being recreated into a new network of Urban Wilderness trails.

The preserve is set to open this spring, and crews this week were constructing multiple trails throughout and approaching the property. A grant from the Siddiqi Foundation is allowing Legacy Parks to start work on a children's play area near the entrance to the tract at 1516 Taylor Road in South Knoxville.

The Baker Creek Preserve is a special piece of property that just three years ago appeared unlikely to reach its potential as an outdoor adventure destination. However, an overwhelming majority of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization board has voted since 2013 to effectively halt the James White Parkway Extension in favor of funding safety improvements to Chapman Highway.

The proposed $120 million 5-mile extension of the James White Parkway - to be constructed in the 2020s or 2030s - would have gone through the Baker Creek Preserve.

In the past year, the Urban Wilderness has gained momentum.

Bell Helmets awarded a $100,000 grant to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club as part of a national competition. Work now is underway to construct a competition-style state-of-the-art downhill trail, which adds to the nearly seven miles of additional trails funded by a $200,000 state Department of Environment and Conservation grant.

Baker Creek Preserve will connect into an existing 42 miles of trails in the Urban Wilderness by way of a pedestrian bridge that will span Redbud Road. The bridge will be funded by grants from REI to Legacy Parks and to the AMBC, as well as by private donations.

And that's not all. This week, the Professional TrailBuilders Association, in Knoxville for a national conference, is constructing the “Legacy Trail,” a sustainably and professionally built trail segment connecting South-Doyle Middle School to an adjacent neighborhood and the Baker Creek Preserve.

Check out this gallery of photos from the Baker Creek Preserve tour! Great to see all the exciting trail construction happening this week!

This structure, once completed, will be a banked curve near the start of the Devil's Racetrack Downhill trail.
This structure, once completed, will be a banked curve near the start of the Devil's Racetrack downhill trail.

Check out the view from Pappy's Point!
Incredible view from Pappy's Point!

Brian Hann, Carol Evans, Mayor Madeline Rogero and David Brace walk the area where the Professional TrailBuilders Association is building a trail connection near South-Doyle Middle School.
Brian Hann, chair of Legacy Parks Trails, Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans, Mayor Madeline Rogero and Senior Director of Public Works David Brace walk the area where the Professional TrailBuilders Association is building a connection near South-Doyle Middle School.

Brian Hann, who also serves on the City's Greenways Task Force, guides Mayor Madeline Rogero on a tour of the southern end of the Baker Creek Preserve.
Brian Hann, who also serves on the City's Greenways Task Force, guides Mayor Madeline Rogero on a tour of the southern end of the Baker Creek Preserve.

Lots of cutbacks, and views, winding down the Best Medicine trail.
Lots of cutbacks, and views, winding down the Best Medicine trail.

From left: Brian Hann, Carol Evans and Mayor Madeline Rogero. In the background is one of the hard-working crews creating a first-class trail system!
From left: Brian Hann, Carol Evans and Mayor Madeline Rogero. In the background is one of the hard-working crews creating a first-class trail system!
Posted by evreeland On 11 March, 2016 at 12:05 PM