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Meet Rebekah Jane Montgomery: City's First Urban Wilderness Coordinator 

Urban Wilderness - River Bluff view

In July 2017, the City’s first-ever Urban Wilderness Coordinator was introduced.

Rebekah Jane Montgomery, who often answers to “RJ,” is collaborating with an array of partners to help further develop and enhance the 1,000-plus-acre collection of parks, Civil War forts, trails and natural features.

Rebeckah Jane Montgomery
Rebekah Jane Montgomery, Urban Wilderness Coordinator

Her hire comes at a time when the economic clout of the Urban Wilderness – and its reputation as a go-to outdoor adventure mecca – are quickly growing.

Montgomery comes with experience as a landscape architect and was a previous Knox County Parks and Greenways Coordinator. She has a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia.

Montgomery literally lives and breathes the Urban Wilderness. She and her husband live on a farm in South Knoxville with their two daughters, Early Cate, 4, and Clara, 2. There, they raise Highland cattle and large black hogs, with a flock of chickens roaming about.

Montgomery Family

An avid runner, Montgomery personally enjoys the Urban Wilderness right at her doorstep, and now works to expand that trail network in her new role at the City.

The Urban Wilderness is continually being expanded, invested in and improved, thanks to stakeholders that include:

  • The City of Knoxville;
  • Knox County;
  • Legacy Parks Foundation;
  • Ijams Nature Center;
  • Aslan Foundation;
  • Appalachian Mountain Bike Club; and
  • Many other neighborhoods and businesses in South Knoxville.
Montgomery is coordinating with this collaborative group now known as the Urban Wilderness Alliance.
In 2016, the Alliance contracted a consulting firm, Equinox Environmental, to define the Four-Year Urban Wilderness Implementation Plan. A large part of Montgomery’s work is to see this Implementation Plan through, coordinating with the Alliance partners.

“I’m excited to work with the City and the Alliance to continue to enhance the Urban Wilderness,” said Montgomery. “The Urban Wilderness has really revitalized South Knoxville, created great community partnerships, and continues to put Knoxville on the map as an outdoor destination.”

In addition to coordinating with the Urban Wilderness Alliance partners, Montgomery will be coordinating from the City’s end on projects like:
  • Fort Dickerson Quarry improvements;
  • Baker Creek Preserve; and
  • The Urban Wilderness Gateway Project.
Since the 2016-17 fiscal year, the City of Knoxville has set aside $1.8 million for further development of the Urban Wilderness. That's in addition to a separate $275,000 for Fort Dickerson Quarry improvements.

Montgomery works out of the Parks and Recreation Department offices at Lakeshore Park. For more information on the Urban Wilderness, call 865-215-1700, or visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/urbanwilderness.

Posted by On 12 March, 2018 at 10:16 AM