By MARGARET BROSKO
Metro Parks Communications Manager
You did what? That’s the routine question people ask me after I tell them I moved from Grand Canyon National Park to Louisville, Kentucky. Most of them, probably like yourself, are thinking why would you leave one of the natural wonders of the world.
Granted, the GCNR (as I like to call it) is one of the greatest places I have lived, but Louisville has its pluses. We have waterfalls, cool creeks, a mighty river, miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, outdoor entertainment, a great arts community, amazing local restaurants, AAA baseball, shoot even an impressive cemetery. I could go on forever. It makes perfect sense to live in Louisville.
Of course, my passion is parks and ours stack up to the thousands I’ve visited. On paper, it’s an impressive system. 124 parks, 16 community centers, five swimming pools, nine golf courses, two historic homes, and much more. But the approximate 450 permanent and more than 350 seasonal employees make it come alive. Over the past month, I spent time with a number of Metro Parks’ staff. It’s an opportunity for them to brag about their programs and departments. It didn’t take long to recognize their enthusiasm and dedication. For example, Bennett Knox at Jefferson Memorial Forest is National Park Ranger quality. So get out there and take advantage.
That’s what July is all about. It is National Parks and Recreation Month. This year’s theme is “Celebrate, Advocate, Recreate!” The National Recreation and Park Association is encouraging everyone to get outdoors to their local parks and recreation facilities as much as possible. So, we want to remind you of the vital role that parks and recreation play in your life and the lives of Americans! It’s a perfect opportunity to share some of the cool facts and hidden treasures in our parks that our staff is so pumped about.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in July we will challenge you with a trivia question. The winners will get prizes like a round of free golf or trips to area attractions. We also have a picture and essay contest. We want you to send us your favorite Metro Parks photo: a tree, creek, historic home, swimming pool or statue. If photography isn’t your thing, write a story about your favorite park or a family tradition like an annual picnic. Our panel of judges will select a winner at the end of the month. Your prize package will include a monthly swimming pass (just in time for August), free passes to our historic homes, Jefferson Memorial Forest give-aways and much more. You’ll get hundreds of dollars of fun just for sharing your talents.
Make sure to check us out on our other social media outlets. Here’s a taste of some of the fun facts you will learn.
- What formerly occupied the specific site of today’s Central Park tennis courts? A lake that was on the Dupont Estate.
- Tell the legend of the old bald cypress in George Rogers Clark Park. George Rogers Clark, the highest ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War, served as leader of the Kentucky militia. Once, when he came back from battle he threw his riding crop into the ground and behold it grew into the bald cypress. That’s the legend, believe it or not.
- What went on at the site of Baxter Square Park before it became Louisville’s first formal park? It was a city cemetery.
Make sure to use National Parks and Recreation Month as an excuse to rediscover your favorite park! We look forward to seeing you.