One of Louisville’s signature parks is adding a new feature certain to draw more visitors to the area and enhance the opportunity for recreational enjoyment of the Ohio River.
A public boat ramp and accompanying parking area planned for Shawnee Park will provide boaters with convenient river access below McAlpine Locks and Dam and the renowned Falls of the Ohio.
On Friday, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Rich Storm joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and other city officials in breaking ground near the park’s Louisville Loop trailhead for the joint project between Louisville Parks and Recreation and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
“This project shows the power of strong partnerships,” Storm said. “Expanding access to the river is a win for the community and all anglers, boaters and hunters of the Commonwealth.”
River-based recreation is important for many in Louisville, Jefferson County and the surrounding areas. That mirrors the interest in outdoor recreation across the state.
Each year, more than 2 million people fish, hunt, boat, or participate in other wildlife-related recreation in Kentucky.
“Fishing, hunting and boating are vital to Kentucky’s adventure tourism industry,” Berry said. “Together with wildlife watching, they contribute more than $5.9 billion to Kentucky’s economy.”
The project is a key infrastructure investment supporting the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative to improve equitable access to nature in the community.
Last year, the city’s ECHO (Engaging Children Outdoors) program unveiled a new bicycle track near the planned boat ramp, and future plans include a modern outdoor education center to be nearby.
The Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) recently installed an underground water basin in Shawnee Park and has made several million dollars worth of improvements there. Those include new basketball courts at the site of the historic Dirt Bowl, new baseball fields, a new restroom and shelter, a new sprayground and updated walking path and a newly paved road through the park.
“The new boat ramp in Shawnee Park will provide a highly-sought-after recreational amenity in this historic Olmsted Park,” Mayor Fischer said. “I look forward to seeing it used by anglers, canoers and those looking to simply get out on the water and have some fun. Our dive and rescue teams from the Louisville Fire and Louisville Metro Police departments also believe it will greatly enhance public safety with better access to the Ohio River. I want to thank Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for their partnership on this important project.”
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife maintains more than 160 ramps statewide and its crews will build the two-lane concrete ramp at Shawnee Park. It also plans to create an area adjacent to the ramp for bank fishing access.
For its portion of the project, the department is using Sport Fish Restoration Program grant funds, which are derived from dedicated federal excise taxes on equipment used for fishing, and recreational boat motor fuels.
Louisville Parks and Recreation has contracted with private firms on the design and construction of an access road and parking area large enough to accommodate more than two dozen vehicles and boat trailers.
Construction could be finished this fall, barring inclement weather or other conditions that could potentially delay the project’s completion.
Designed by landscape architect and conservationist Frederick Law Olmsted, Shawnee Park sits along the Ohio River in Louisville’s west end just minutes from Interstate 264.
The new Shawnee Park ramp will provide a second Jefferson County location for boaters to enjoy the Cannelton Pool of the Ohio River, and it will be the closest Kentucky ramp downstream of McAlpine Locks and Dam and the Falls of the Ohio.
“The Ohio River is a tremendous resource for recreational boaters, and the Falls of the Ohio area offers some of the best fishing in the state,” Storm said. “Beyond improving recreational access, this ramp also will help our conservation officers’ efforts on the water and ongoing efforts to fight the spread of Asian carp. The Falls of the Ohio is a moderate barrier to these invasive fish, and the Cannelton Pool is the farthest pool upriver where we are seeing Asian carp in large numbers. We continue to work with our counterparts in Indiana to facilitate commercial removal of Asian carp in this area, and the Shawnee Park ramp will provide another access point to help make that happen.”
Families can enjoy fall color and outdoor fun at Jefferson Memorial Forest during the Wilderness Louisville Forest Adventure on Saturday, October 19, beginning at 4 p.m.
And, for the first time ever during this annual event, families are encouraged to pitch a tent and stay overnight. $25 will reserve one of the Forest’s family campsites and for $15, campers can set up in the field in the Horine Reservation.
Daylight activities include a children’s nature exploration area, a climbing wall, pumpkin decorating, guided hikes, activity at the nature center and more. Music will be performed by Grandma’s Boys, and food trucks will be on site.
Nighttime activities will include storytelling by the campfire along with night hikes and stargazing with the Louisville Astronomy Society and the Louisville Free Public Library. Camping set-up and registration will take place from 3-4 p.m. October 19.
“The annual Forest Adventure is the perfect opportunity for families to discover the natural beauty and recreational opportunities at Jefferson Memorial Forest, which is thirty minutes away, or less, no matter where you live in Louisville,” Park Administrator Bennett Knox said.
With 6,600 acres, Jefferson Memorial Forest offers many opportunities for individuals and families to enjoy and explore the outdoors. The Forest features more than 35 miles of marked hiking trails, fishing, and primitive camping. The hiking will be through the Horine Reservation of the Forest, located at 12304 Holsclaw Hill Road. Nine different trail routes in four sections of the Forest will be featured, providing a range of options for hikers of all abilities. The trails range in length from one-fifth of a mile up to five miles, and have terrain varying from relatively flat to rugged.
The Wilderness Louisville Forest Adventure is presented by Quest Outdoors.
The walking bridge in the north section of Joe Creason Park that crosses Beargrass Creek near Bellarmine will be closed for a construction project beginning Feb. 1, 2019 for repairs.
Repairs are expected to take up to 2 months.
Mayor Greg Fischer and other local leaders today reminded families of the many free and low-cost activities to keep students active and engaged during winter break.
Camps, movies, parties and sports clinics are among the dozens of activities available during the Jefferson County Public Schools winter break, Dec. 24-Jan. 4, and throughout the month of December.
“Parents who are looking for affordable, fun and festive ways to celebrate the holidays and keep their kids active during their winter break won’t have far to turn once again this year,” Mayor Fischer said. “We want students to enjoy their time off but also keep their minds sharp and bodies healthy.”
The Mayor spoke alongside Metro Councilman Pat Mulvihill and representatives of Louisville Parks and Recreation, JCPS, the Louisville Free Public Library and the Kentucky Science Center gathered at the Cyril Allgeier Community Center in the Camp Taylor neighborhood.
Louisville Parks and Recreation has published a Holiday Event guide that contains more than 30 events taking place during the month of December at community centers, the city’s two historic homes and more. The season is capped with a free winter break sports camp offered by University of Louisville basketball legend Robbie Valentine at Cyril Allgeier on Jan. 3-4. To register for Valentine’s camp, click here.
Also, The Louisville Free Public Library will offer more than 100 free programs for kids, teens, and families while school is out, including storytimes, crafts, film screenings, games, and more. As always, the library also offers a wide selection of books and DVDs to keep kids reading and entertained during the break—all for free. A complete list of library programs is available at http://www.lfpl.org/events.
The Southwest Regional Library will host the Winter Wonderland Train Show — presented by K & I Model Rail Road Club —Dec. 22-Jan 6. The show is free and open during regular library hours, for more information, click here.
In addition, the Kentucky Science Center is offering day camps for children ages Pre-K through grade 5. Children can attend as many days as they like or just do it a day at a time and learn about coding, robotics, engineering and more. For more information, click here.
Louisville Parks and Recreation is accepting team registrations for its adult men’s winter basketball leagues. Games will be played Sunday afternoons at the Cyril Allgeier Community Center, 4101 Cadillac Court, beginning January 6, with game times of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 p.m.
The fee is $500 per team, and participants must be 18 or older. Deadline to register is December 15, or until leagues are filled.
For more information on how to register, please click here. Payments can be made by credit card over the phone at 502/574-4515. You may also pay by cash or check at the Parks and Recreation athletics office located at the Cyril Allgeier Center, 4101 Cadillac Ct., 40213.
Payment must be made in full at the time of registration in order to reserve your place for the season. Registrations received after deadline will be subject to $35 processing late fee.
Join Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Louisville Parks and Recreation for cider and donuts to celebrate the completion of the Bonnycastle Hill restoration project in our beloved Cherokee Park! No need to RSVP—simply attend if your schedule allows. Contact Meghan Robinson with questions.
Thursday, November 8, 2018 | 9 to 10 am
Stegner Pavilion | Bonnycastle Hill in Cherokee Park
We are thrilled to share the new Stegner Pavilion, relocated basketball court, lit walking paths and reconfigured parking area with our vibrant community of park users.
Olmsted Parks Conservancy proudly thanks Louisville Parks and Recreation, the City of Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer, Councilman Brandon Coan, the Stegner Family and other generous donors to our Campaign for Extraordinary Parks for their partnership and support of this successful restoration project.
Coca-Cola Consolidated and Louisville Parks and Recreation will host a public celebration of the newly refreshed Portland Park. The event will be this Saturday, October 21, starting at 11:00 AM. The Portland Park is located at 640 N 27th St.
Brief remarks will be made by Mayor Greg Fischer. The event is free and open to the public, and will offer food trucks, live music, face painting, crafts and more. Information about open jobs and joining the Coke Consolidated team will also be available.
“Louisville Parks and Recreation is pleased to see our partnership continue to grow with Coca Cola Consolidated, the Joey Logano Foundation and the KY Speedway,” said Ben Johnson, Assistant Director for Louisville Parks and Recreation. “This Family Fun Festival is a new event for us and we are excited for it to take place in the same park where we partnered to put in a brand new playground this summer.”
“Coca-Cola Consolidated is honored to partner with Louisville Parks and Recreation and the Joe Logano Foundation through our Big Hearts, mini cans program,” said Audie Wilson, Director of Retail Sales for Coca-Cola Consolidated. “Our mini cans might be small, but our heart for the Louisville community is enormous.”