The Trail Less Travelled

i.e. By Aaron Henry

Fairmount Trail

Louisville offers a wide variety parks to choose from, however some of these local treasures can be overlooked because there are so many. Here are two exciting parks just off the beaten path you should explore!

Fairmount Falls Park

A beautiful park tucked away just off of Thixton Lane, Fairmount Falls provides a wonderful terrain to traverse. It’s important to point out that Fairmount is by permit only in order to preserve the natural beauty of the park. In the spring there are a number of wildflowers that grow along the hillside.


As I began my journey along the trail I noticed the moss covered rock formation at the entrance and how it marked the beginning of my adventure. I then reached the crossing of Hidden Creek Lane and I could hear the rushing water of the falls. The trail led right to the edge of the cliff in order to marvel at this spectacular sight.


I then realized that my path continued directly across the stream and stand on top of the falls themselves. I gazed at the vastness of the area, listened to the pounding current and felt the mist upon my face. I carried on along the trail, just off the side of the cliff. It followed a winding path all the way down the hillside and up again.  


The land was originally by owned George Weber in 2002. It was originally a part of the Hidden Creek Farms, which is the name of the stream that flows over the falls. The land was purchased with the help of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

This purchase also took place around the time of the merger between the Jefferson County and the city of Louisville. Weber wrote about a very interesting plant that grows in this area call Job’s Tears. The previous owner, Mr. Weber wrote a small description of this plant and how he used the bead-like seeds to fashion a teething ring for his little sister, when he was younger. They resemble wooden beads and are often used to make rosary beads.

Caperton Swamp

Caperton Swamp Park

Caperton Swamp is another overlooked park just off of River Road.

The park’s winding trail allows you to journey through the marshy landscape, and loops around a beautiful pond.  In the summer, the pond will dry up and provide a perfect habitat for a number of reptiles and amphibians.

On the other side of the trail you can see the timber has settled in standing water. It is also known as “wet woodlands,” which means the soil is flooded for over half the year. Due to this unique ecosystem, Caperton offers a very different experience than other parks within the city.

Caperton is also known to be a great place to view various species of birds. Over 187 types have been spotted in this area. Personally, on my trip through Caperton, I listened to a melody of bird calls and even spotted two woodpeckers just off the trail.

Another interesting fact is it is a Nature Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. This means there cannot be any form of construction and hunting is not allowed.

This is part of the deed restrict held by the deed owners. The land was acquired with the help of River Fields, Inc. over the course of several years, between 1980 and 1988.

Caperton Arch
One structure did however exist in this area; the Caperton Arch was originally an entrance way onto the Caperton estate. Due to the concern of its condition, it carefully relocated to Mockingbird Gardens on Brownsboro Road in 1990.  


So, if you’re feeling adventurous or interested in discovering something new about Louisville, lace up your boots and visit these hidden gems within the city.

 

The Legacy of Olmsted

i.e. By Aaron Henry

Those who have lived in Louisville for any amount of time have probably visited, or heard of its Olmsted Parks.


Frederick Law Olmsted, along with his firm and sons John and Frederick Jr, are responsible for the design of 18 parks within the Metro Louisville. The three most visited of the Olmsted parks in Louisville are Shawnee, Cherokee and Iroquois parks.


Olmsted also had a number of other landscaping successes before coming to Kentucky. You may have seen some of his earlier work if you have ever been to Central Park in New York City. What makes these parks so remarkable is Olmsted founded them in 1890’s. The city was a little more than a hundred years old at the time. Quite literally, they were a part of foundational key point of the expansion of the city.


A remarkable fact about Louisville is it consists of five distinctly different Physiographic Regions. Normally a city has only one type of landscape that makes up the entire area. Olmsted saw this as an opportunity to show the natural beauty and diverse terrain through the city by structuring these parks specific locations.


His project planned allowed Shawnee Park was designed along the Riverine landscape beside the Ohio River. This unique location has developed natural aquifers that produce fresh water by saturation water from the river through the ground. Iroquois Park displays how the Knobs create steep mounds formed on a bedrock of silt. This makes the ground soft and easily erodible. Most likely the most recognized Park is Cherokee with spectacular rolling Outer Bluegrass region provides rolling hills and dense forestry.


On top of developing these parks, Olmsted also devised a way for people to access each of them no matter where they were in the city through various Parkways. Algonquin, Northwestern and Southwestern Parkways provide access to Shawnee Park, while Southern Parkway leads towards Iroquois Park.


There’s also Eastern and Cherokee Parkway that connect with Cherokee Park. The Parkways were strategically built to connect at a central point. This focal point converge around the Belknap campus of the University of Louisville. At the time, these roadways gave people the ability to travel across the city from opposite sides.

Shawnee lake and shelter.jpg
Understanding how these parks function together allows you to see the ideals Olmsted wanted to express within the city. They provide a sense of the diversity and community within Louisville and how it can be shared for generations. This is why it’s important to preserve our parks.


Every park gives an opportunity for people to come together and witness the beauty of nature without having to leave the city. It’s been said before, but maybe you’ll think about it differently when you hear, “Louisville is the city of parks.”

 

We are Thankful for Jim Clark

Bone Dry

Jim and Bone-Dry Team Restoring Iroquois Horse Arena

This Thanksgiving Holiday Metro Parks has a lot to be thankful for. In particular, we are really thankful for the impact volunteers have had in our Parks, Community Centers, and Historic Homes. Volunteers help us everyday to achieve our mission and help make our community a better place thanks to their generosity. In 2015 thousands of volunteers have decided to contribute there helping hand in our volunteer program and we can’t be more thankful this.

 

One special volunteer we would like to recognize this year is Jim Clark. Jim was recently recognized as a WLKY Bell Award Winner. Thanks to the leadership of Jim Clark, owner of Bone-Dry Waterproofing, a small request for advice on drainage issues turned into a generous gift for the community, restoring the public horse arena in beloved Iroquois Park.

 

Metro Parks initially approached Jim to get advice on how to grade the arena to improve the conditions of the surface. Once Metro Parks explained the issues we were having with the horse arena, Jim immediately understood what needed to be done. Without provocation, he generously offered to donate time and talent to the project.

 

Jim single handily remodeled the surface of the Iroquois Horse Arena, using Bone-Dry’s equipment and renting additional equipment when necessary, to complete the task. Jim worked for weeks installing the new surface, ensuring it was done correctly. Once complete, Jim and his Bone-Dry team prepared the site for a large volunteer group project with GE Appliance Park. On October 11, 2013, 10 volunteers from Bone-Dry and a group from GE painted the newly installed fence. In total Jim and his team spent many long days over a two month period on this project assessed at a value well in excess of $22,000 including  labor, equipment, and supplies.

 

Because of this project, South Louisville Community Center was able to start an equestrian program during its summer camps the following year which was an invaluable price and gave teens that had never ridden horses before the opportunity to do so.

 

Our organization isn’t the only one to have benefited from Mr. Clark’s generosity. He has provided similar assistance to Metro Police K-9 unit and Metro Police Mounted Patrol. In 2012, he donated over 360 team hours to Lampe Home featured on Extreme Home Makeover. In 2011, he was able to transform a vacant lot full of overgrown weeds, dead trees and trash into a beautiful “green space” directly behind the Kentucky Humane Society Main Campus to aide in pet adoptions.

 

Jim Clark and his team have a huge heart, and we can’t thank them enough for the work that they have done for Metro Parks. The Iroquois Arena project simply would not have been completed without Bone-Dry, and specifically Jim Clark’s assistance. Jim Clark is an excellent model of compassion and Metro Parks and the our citizens are proud of his work. We salute all your hard work this Thanksgiving Jim!

Solomon Khup A Behind The Scenes Player at Iroquois Amphitheater

Solomon Khupp

Solomon Khupp

From Metro Parks staff

On Nov. 13, the best and the brightest in the hospitality industry in Louisville will gather at the Marriott Hotel downtown for the Rose Awards, hosted by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Solomon Khup, as a nominee in the “Behind The Scenes” category, is critical to the success of the events hosted at the Iroquois Amphitheater, which include concerts, free movie nights and other events, including the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. Here’s what Michael Hallett, production manager at the Amphitheater, said about Khup’s value to the team at the Amphitheater in his nomination essay:

“Mr. Solomon Khup is in his 6th year at Metro Parks and Recreation. He takes care of the back of house functions here at the Iroquois Amphitheater. The size and scope of Solomon’s daily duties are vast. Solomon is involved in custodial, maintenance, janitorial and is usually the first point of contact with our clients when they arrive for set-up. Our clients are varied from Music celebrities to our immediate neighbors coming to watch a free Monday night movie. His serene nature and friendly disposition amazes everyone.

Mr. Khup takes total ownership for the condition of our facility. We strive for a level of quality and cleanliness not often found in outdoor music venues. We are open to the elements and all the park animals which have made for some wild days. I remember when we removed a large black snake from the seating area right before we opened. But more seriously, Solomon encounters all the unpleasant aspects of what large concert venue’s deal with when you have crowds of hundreds who are consuming alcohol. He has never hesitated to correct any cleaning issue that has occurred.

Solomon is at best an example of the human spirit. His personal journey alone is a success story most would be proud of.  Solomon is from Myanmar/Burma. He came here alone and made Louisville his new home. His citizenship is a source of pride to him.  He has overcome language and cultural barriers to become a successful employee. Still a young man, he wants to retire here expanding his role and responsibilities. The Amphitheater and the citizens of Louisville could not be better served.”

Artist’s Journey Leads From Kenya To Beechmont Community Center

Rebekah 2

Meet Rebekah Frost Flint – a Pottery Artisan at Beechmont Community Center in South Louisville.  Rebekah joined the staff of Beechmont Community Center in May, and began teaching pottery classes in September.

Rebekah was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to parents working in a Ugandan mission doing theological education and healthcare. Her first experience with clay was a Rift Valley Academy, an international boarding school in Kenya where she enrolled in three pottery classes.

Rebekah attended Union University in Jackson, TN, where she obtained a B.A. degree in Art (emphasis in ceramics).  She also received a minor in Education and completed her K-12 teacher licensure in 2010. Rebekah 1

After graduating, Rebekah taught several art & pottery classes at her high school in Kenya for two years (2010-2012) before moving to Louisville.

“I enjoy creating things and considering how the art I create might enrich the lives of others”, Rebekah said. “Although I love making art using a variety of media, pottery is a great way to interject art into anyone’s life; the finished products are useful additions to anyone’s kitchen or dining area.”

Rebekah has been making pottery at Beechmont for a year.  She currently teaches a class on Monday mornings and Thursday evenings. The class is $50 for an 8-week course.

“It is a gift to be able to engage in creating!  Teaching people how to work with clay is also very fulfilling in that I have the joy of facilitating others’ discovery and delight,” she said.

For more information, contact
Beechmont Community Center
205 Wellington Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40214
(502) 361-5484

Jefferson Memorial Forest’s Canoemobile Adventure Event

canoe2Last weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling down to the beautiful Riverview Park to capture some photos of Jefferson Memorial Forest’s Canoemobile Event, which offers free canoe rides for individuals and/or families. But before I could even get the camera out, I was once again enthralled by the beauty of this park. It’s a hidden oasis of 46+ acres running along the Ohio River in Southwest Jefferson County at the end of Greenwood Road. I must admit, Riverview Park is one of my favorite parks in the city. Why? This park is situated along the river bank, offering a quiet, picturesque view of the Ohio with a backdrop of lush landscape highlighted by crisp, green leaves with hints of blazing orange and red foliage amidst the rolling tree canopy.   It’s beautiful!

As I pulled out the camera, I rushed down to the water to capture a couple of families arriving back to the dock after their paddling experience; the grandparents and their grandchildren, along with a father of two boys, all smiling ear to ear! For the children, this was their first paddling experience. Moments later, another canoe arrived filled with young ladies participating in a YMCA mentoring program from Southern Indiana. While still a little nervous, two of the participants told me that they had a blast! All admitted this was their first time canoeing, but it wouldn’t be their last.

That’s exactly what organizers wanted to hear. The purpose of the Canoemobile program is to introduce youngsters and families to canoeing and other outdoor activities, all aimed at promoting environmental education and stewardship and physical activity in the outdoors. The program is also part of larger urban outdoor initiative with the United States National Park Service, which is focused on introducing urban residents to the beauty of the outdoors.   The canoe rides, in partnership with the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA), launched from Shawnee Park on Friday, October 3, and Saturday, October 4 from Riverview Park. Despite the rainy and cold weather, more than 350 participants took part in the activity.

What I enjoyed most about this event was the family-fun atmosphere.   It was interesting to watch many of the participants quietly (often a little reluctantly) meander down to the canoe in the beginning, yet confidently exiting the boat laughing and reminiscing about their journey up/down river at the conclusion.   Sometimes it was the child/teen holding the hand of the parent/grandparent who was obviously the one nervous, and at other times it was vice versa. While I personally was unable to overcome my fear of water and participate, I was impressed by the number of people who were. Some even acknowledging they now could mark this off their “bucket list”.

Thanks to the welcoming and energetic staff of Jefferson Memorial Forest and Wilderness Canoe Adventures. They helped to make the event GREAT! See some of my pictures below…

 

 

   canoe3 canoe4 canoe5 canoe6 canoe7 canoe8 canoe9

Winter Basketball League Registration Underway

Registration for Men’s 18 & Over Basketball League is open now through January 2, 2014.  First week of league play basketballbegins January 7. Games will be played on Tuesday evenings (6:30, 7:30, 8:30 & 9:30 pm) at Cyril Allgeier Community Center. Questions? Call the Athletics Office at (502) 456-8117.

Click here to register online.

Important Note:  Payment must be made in full at the time of registration in order to reserve your place for the season.  Register at the Athletics desk inside the Louisville Tennis Center located at 3783 Illinois Ave.  Louisville, KY 40213.