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Urban Wilderness Gateway Project

Knoxville's Urban Wilderness logoRebekah Jane Montgomery
Urban Wilderness Coordinator

Lakeshore Park 
5930 Lyons View Pike 
Knoxville, TN 37919
(Click here to learn more about the City's Urban Wilderness Coordinator)

The Knoxville Urban Wilderness represents a dynamic partnership that shines a spotlight on the natural, historic, recreational, and environmental resources of a City.

Urban Wilderness Gateway ProjectURBAN WILDERNESS GATEWAY PARK

In her April 27, 2018 State of the City Address, Mayor Madeline Rogero proposed a $10 million investment to create a gateway park and entrance to South Knoxville  and the Urban Wilderness at the southern end of the James White Parkway. The City and the community appreciate the support of Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Transportation in deeding this state property to the City for public use.     

This new park proposes to include amenities such as a landscaped access point and gathering space at Baker Creek Preserve and at the James White Parkway terminus, parking, pedestrian and bike pathways and trails, a bike park, additional children’s nature play areas, improved connectivity and safety to existing neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and the planned BMX facility at South-Doyle Middle School.

Your input will help the park to be a true reflection of the community.

Urban Wilderness Gateway Project    Urban Wilderness Gateway Project


Concept Design Report The Framework, Vision and Concept Design Report for the Urban Wilderness Gateway Park Project was presented at a community meeting on Sept. 18. This document establishes guiding principles and a conceptual design framework for the James White Parkway Corridor, making the connection between East Knoxville, Downtown and South Knoxville by parkland and greenways.

Programming and priorities were set through site analysis, community engagement and public meetings. This information assisted in creating a phased approach for the transformation of the corridor to a linear park.

This content, as well as Phase One and future phase projects, are outlined in the report. Resources highlighting other projects in the South Knoxville area as well as supplemental information that influenced the plans are found in the appendix.

Click here to view the full report in PDF format (30MB).

Smaller PDF files of each section of the report are also available below: 

1. Project Background & Existing Conditions [PDF]
2. Outreach & Engagement [PDF]
3. Framework [PDF]
4. Phase 1 Projects [PDF]
5. Future Phase Projects [PDF]
6. Appendices [PDF]
Appendix A: James White Parkway Traffic Analysis Report
Appendix B: James White Parkway Urban Wilderness Traffic Investigation
Appendix C: Traffic Engineering Report 
Appendix D: Traffic Engineering Report
Appendix E: Planting & Ecology
Appendix F: Online Survey
Appendix G: Stakeholder Comment Log


A public meeting on September 18, 2018 shared a revised conceptual design report for the corridor along with the timeline and details of the phase one plan for the new park.

Presentation boards displayed at the meeting are linked below:
Community Meeting Presentation from Sept. 18, 2018 [PDF]

Construction on the Gateway Park is expected to begin Spring 2019, with first phase improvements to be in place by Fall 2019.

Feedback is always welcome, submit your comments to the project email address UWGatewayPark@knoxvilletn.gov  or contact Urban Wilderness Coordinator Rebekah Jane Montgomery at 865-215-1720 or  rmontgomery@knoxvilletn.gov.

James White Parkway Terminus Concept Design Renderings - click images for larger views

James White Parkway Terminus Concept Design Renderings    James White Parkway Terminus Concept Design Renderings

Baker Creek Preserve Area Concept Design Renderings - click images for larger views

Baker Creek Preserve Concept Design Renderings    Baker Creek Preserve Concept Design Renderings


UWGP & James White Parkway Throughout the visioning and conceptual design phase, community groups and stakeholders have been gathering in small forums with city staff and the project design team to help guide the progress of the framework for the project. This community input, along with survey results, have been paired with the project’s guiding principles to shape the conceptual plans, strategic goals, timelines of the project. 

Additional Community Meeting Discussion Slides are linked below:
Community Meeting Discussion Slides [PDF]


View Survey Results & Answers [PDF]
The City is eager to hear from South Knoxville families and outdoor adventurers about what amenities they most want to see as the new $10 million Urban Wilderness Gateway Park is being created. 

With the City's online survey, over 800 people chimed in and shared their ideas and priorities for the Urban Wilderness Gateway Park Project visioning process. You can see the collection of those responses in graphs and also read the full survey results with written responses here.

Question 1: Do you live in South Knoxville?
Do you live in South Knoxville  
Question 2: How often do you use the Urban Wilderness or any other parks, trails, and greenways in South Knoxville?
Do you live in South Knoxville

Question 3: What are your favorite experiences in the Urban Wilderness?  
Do you live in South Knoxville  
Question 4: What would you like to see more of in this area?
What would you like to see more of in this area

Feedback is always welcome, submit your comments to UWGatewaypark@knoxvilletn.gov or contact Urban Wilderness Coordinator Rebekah Jane Montgomery at 865-215-1720 or  rmontgomery@knoxvilletn.gov.


The Urban Wilderness Gateway Park Public Input Exhibition and Block Party was held on June 2, 2018. Throughout the two-hour public gathering at the southern end of the James White Parkway, Urban Wilderness enthusiasts and neighbors gathered around interactive displays and shared ideas about the new $10 million gateway park. At the same time, park planners invited people to take a quick online survey, to help identify priorities and favorite Urban Wilderness experiences.

June 2, 2018 Public Meeting Presentation Renderings

(click on the image below to view in a larger format PDF or CLICK HERE to view all renderings in PDF format)

Draft Concert James White Parkway TerminusDraft Concert Baker Creek PReserve Entrance


Click here for video in larger view.

Knoxville's Urban Wilderness is a spectacular outdoor adventure area where you can hike, bike, climb, paddle, or just wander in the woods – all within the heart of the city. Over 50 miles of trails and greenways connect you to a beautiful nature center, pristine lakes, historic sites, dramatic quarries, adventure playgrounds, five city parks, and a 500-acre wildlife area. There's an adventure for everyone!

Visit www.KnoxUrbanWilderness.com



4 Year PlanA Four-Year Implementation Plan for the Urban Wilderness was created in 2016. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is a recreational, cultural and historic preservation initiative within South Knoxville incorporating 1,000 forested acres. The area invites residents and visitors alike to experience the special character-defining assets of Knoxville with more than 50 miles of trails, 10 parks, four Civil War sites, incredible views and unparalleled natural features. The Urban Wilderness Comprehensive Plan included determining a four-year implementation plan, key entry points and signage.

View the Urban Wilderness Four-Year Implementation Plan [PDF]