You're invited to celebrate Earth Day 2021 with a guided "Walk in the Park" at one of the following locations: Cove Spring Wetlands; Dolly Graham Park; Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill; and River View Park.
On Thursday afternoon, April 22, you can participate in one of two time slots (3 PM or 5 PM) for a guided walk at one of the four parks listed here parks. You will need to register in advance so we can prepare for the small group size required by COVID-19 rules. Register through this link and please answer all questions.
Cove Springs – Wetlands Area.
Andrew Cammack, former Cove Spring Manager & city arborist, with Master's Degree in Botany/Ecology
PLEASE park in the wetland parking area, on the west side of U.S. 127 North, as pictured on the left. Meet at the Visitors Shelter.
Hosts for 2021 Earth Day Walk at Cove Spring Wetland:
Bill Klier; Linda Waller
Parking: Parking is available at the Trail Entrance,
just off the west side of U.S. 127 (photo at left).
Meet at the Wetland Trail Visitor Shelter.
Description: The purpose of Cove Spring Park & Nature Preserve is to provide passive recreation including hiking, picnicking, nature observation, and environmental education. This nature preserve is split between two distinct units, a 50 acre wetland on the west side of US 127N and a spring and forested area on the east side. This event will be held on the wetland side.
The Walk in the Park: The park's elevated Wetland Perimeter Trail (a 1.4 mile loop) provides safe access to learn more about this important wetland. Stay on the elevated walk & trail at all times! More than 257 species of plants, 15 mammals, 66 birds, 8 amphibians, and 6 reptiles have been observed in the park. This guided walk on the The Wetland Perimeter Trail will begin at the parking lot information booth. From that area, the park features a boardwalk, elevated at times, to an observation shelter. From here the dirt and grass path leads to a wetland then loops back into a woodland. Finally the loop junctions near the boardwalk and returns to the parking area.
Connie May: Founder of Fantasy Forest; botanist & landscape gardener, specializing in native plant ecology of Central Kentucky's Inner Bluegrass; founder of the native landscape company, Chrysalis Natural Landscapes
Deb White: Former Executive Director, Woods & Waters Land Trust; retired from Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission; Master’s in plant systematics; author of two books on Kentucky's natural landscapes
225 River Street, Frankfort KY (off Murray Street from East 2nd Street)
Park is currently undergoing a major renovation with plans for a new inclusive playground, a new splash pad aquatic facility, small dog park, and other park improvements.
Hosts for 2021 Earth Day Walk at Dolly Graham Park: Barbara Hadley Smith, Chair, Together Frankfort; David Stumbo, President, South Frankfort Neighborhood Association
Parking: Parking is available in and around this neighborhood park (Murray Street, E. 2nd St., River Street, etc.)
Park Description: Located in South Frankfort along the banks of the Kentucky River, this 6 acre park opened in 1980. The park includes a 50 person capacity picnic shelter with restrooms, a second small shelter, a children’s playground, a full size basketball court, and a picnic area. In addition, the park includes a micro-forest - Fantasy Forest with an adjacent CommonWealth Gardens (described below) and the Winnie Scott Labyrinth (also described below).
Fantasy Forest & the CommonWealth Gardens: Fantasy Forest, planted by community members in 2010, is one of only a few urban micro-forests in Kentucky. Containing over 150 species, including rare species, medicinal plants, and many butterfly host and nectar plants, the nearby Kentucky River attracts a diversity of interesting bird and beneficial insect species. Visitors can open the “Door to the Underworld” to discover insects. The park has several picnic tables including one near the community garden—during season, visitors are encouraged to sample a ripe tomato or cucumber!
CommonWealth Gardens offers education about the rewards of gardening and encourages social interaction in the community, while also creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education. Garden plots, available for free to community members, prioritize the South Frankfort and downtown folks to increase the consumption of locally grown food.
Winnie Scott Labyrinth: The labyrinth, like the Chartres Labyrinth in France, was created in October 2013. The labyrinth is named for Winnie A. Scott, a teacher who established a hospital for African Americans in the early 20th century on East 2nd Street near the park. Since labyrinths are thought of as places of healing and meditation, the name chosen seems most appropriate.
The Walk in the Park: This walk will include an overview of the renovation project, a guided walk in Fantasy Forest & a visit to CommonWealth Gardens. An option to participate in a contemplative walk on the Winnie Scott Labyrinth will be available as well.
Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill
400 Clifton Ave., Frankfort KY
Field Guide: Charles Bogart, a docent at the Fort Boone Civil War Battle Site & Conductor at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum; authored numerous books & articles on railroad, Civil War, & Western River history; Bachelor's degree in history from Thomas More College.
Hosts at Fort Hill's Leslie Morris Park: Lynn Cruz, Together Frankfort Environment Committee; Judy Goddard, Together Frankfort Coordinator
Parking: The park’s main gate, 400 Clifton Ave., can be reached from downtown Frankfort by way of Holmes Street. Park by the main gate; please do not BLOCK the gate.
Park Description: With over 120 acres of forest located on a hill overlooking downtown Frankfort, Leslie Morris Park offers both serene natural settings & reminders of the nation’s bloodiest conflict. The park preserves two Civil War earthwork forts and the site of an 1864 skirmish. The visitor center is an 1810 log house, home to both exhibits & living history programs.
Trails carry visitors from there through the park’s historic area. Self-guided tour flyers and wayside panels explain what can be seen along the way. Another trail system introduces visitors to Fort Hill’s natural features – everything from a cave and sinkholes to spectacular views of the Kentucky River valley.
The Walk in the Park: The Earth Day walk will include visits to the natural and built features, as well as the incredible city viewing opportunity from Fort Hill. Good walking shoes are important for this walk!
River View Park
Russ Kennedy, retired from Frankfort Parks & Recreation, has 6 decades of work with youth in sports & outdoor recreation. Kennedy regularly provides walking tours of the park and other downtown historic areas.
Meet at Ward Oates Amphitheater
(photo at right - seating available)
Hosts for the 2021 Earth Day Walk: Karen Armstrong-Cummings & Mary Lynn Collins, both with Together Frankfort
Parking: Parking is available at on West Main Street, near the Ward Oates Amphitheater.
Park Description: Kentucky River View Park runs along both banks of the Kentucky River alongside Wilkinson Street in downtown Frankfort. Several trail-side panels tell about Frankfort’s many connections to the Kentucky River. A memorial stone commemorates the junction of Kentucky’s three original counties at the mouth of Benson Creek, a Kentucky River tributary.
The park offers hiking trails – part of an extensive city-wide system - and a picnic shelter and boat dock. Canoes and kayaks can be rented here during summertime.
Located at the south end of the park is Frankfort’s Ward Oates Amphitheatre, which provides a serene setting for musical and theatrical presentations. Perhaps the park’s most popular feature is the Farmers’ Market Pavilion, where shoppers can obtain local vegetables, fruit, meat, flowers, and other produce. The Farmers’ Market is at the west end of Broadway.
The Walk in the Park: This walk will include a short, easy walk from the amphitheater to the parking area for the dock, all on the trail path. While the importance of the river to Kentucky's history, industry, tourism, and culture will be discussed, this walk will include a discussion of the recent flooding (March 2021).