Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
This month’s Frontline Park is actually a twofer. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, collectively known as “The Warner Parks,” span 2684 acres just 9 miles from downtown Nashville. Over 500,000 people visit the Parks annually to utilize scenic roadways and overlooks, hiking and horse trails, cross country running courses, golf courses, athletic fields, and to attend the Iroquois Steeplechase. The park also boasts a very popular nature center that offers a wide range of environmental education programs, school field trips, educator training workshops, outdoor recreation programs and other special activities for people of all ages.
Over the past five years, the Friends of Warner Parks have purchased 448 acres of land (valued at approximately $20,000,000) to add to the Warner Parks. Not only did this increase the size and capacity of the parks, but the land also contains the largest tract of old growth forest in an urban area. Community support for obtaining the land was strong. The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County contributed $1,600,000 to this effort, but the bulk of the funds have come from donations by Nashville residents. This outstanding preservation effort received the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Excellence in Natural Heritage Conservation, and 225 acres of the new parkland has been designated a State Natural Area.
To learn more about Warner Parks, please visit the Nashville Metro Board of Parks & Recreation.