Projects Burch Reserve of Edwin Warner Park Updated 12/10/2015 – Phase I contract work, including construction of the stone entry gates, pedestrian connection, boardwalk, parking area and trailhead at Hwy 100 and Old Hickory Blvd is complete. The bidding process for construction of Phase II should be starting within the next two weeks. The construction of the railroad tunnel and connector walkways could take up to a year. The two mile trail in the Burch Reserve has been completed by area Boy Scouts, and is currently being used for Nature Center guided hikes. Two additional Eagle Scout projects are underway. They are the installation of a footbridge and the construction of three scenic spur trails on the main loop trail. This area will not open to the public until the tunnel is completed under the railway. However, individuals interested in a “preview” may join a guided hike scheduled by the Nature Center. All other access is prohibited at this time. Updates to Percy Warner Park Updated 2/2/16 – Friends of Warner Parks will soon be adding a trailhead map and improving access to the Warner Woods Trail (white trail) at the top of the Allee stairs, as well as completing restoration of a historic shelter in the Sycamore Grove area. Metro Parks and Recreation also has several upgrades underway to protect natural elements, enhance parking and trail experiences, and provide greater safety to park visitors. Let Metro Parks’ Special Projects Manager, Tim Netsch, walk you through some of the current and future improvements taking place in your Park. Watch the video below and follow the progress of this and other Warner Park improvements here. Parking Improvements Updated 12/10/15 – Work has begun work on the traffic and parking improvements at Deep Well and Gaucho Road trailheads. The work is being phased to minimize impacts to users. The entire project, including two new parking areas at Deep Well, new parking areas at Chickering and Gaucho Roads, new trailheads at Deep Well, Chickering and Gaucho Roads. The new construction will be similar to the new parking area at the Percy Warner Golf Course, and will include new trailheads, signage, and connector trails to the nearby Red trail, White trail or Cane Connector. A net gain of almost 300 spaces will be realized around the Park. Road to Trail Conversion Updated 12/10/15 – Metro Parks has been working on a “Road to Trails” conversion plan for years and is moving forward with the plan by converting the majority of the 5.8 mile roadway in Percy Warner Park into multi-use trail. This conversion will create an interior natural area of over 700 acres car-free. Many of the roads in Percy Warner will remain open for vehicles to access picnic areas and to take leisurely drives through the Park. The pedestrian enhancements are on schedule to be completed by May, 2016. Mounted Patrol Horse Barn A gift from the Volunteer State Horseman’s Foundation and The Middle TN Pony Club has been approved by Metro Parks to construct a Equestrian Barn that will be used by the Park Police Mounted Patrol. It is scheduled to be completed before the Steeplechase in 2016. There are many more that still need attention. This is an ongoing effort as funding becomes available. To get involved, contact FOWP Executive Director, Mark Weller. Stonework Repair Updated 12/10/15 – Multiple accidents in recent weeks have resulted in damage to historic stone columns and walls at three locations. Repairs are underway to the wall at the intersection of Highway 100 and Old Hickory Blvd, while insurance claims are being processed for damaged stonework on Highway 100 near Harpeth Trace, and Old Hickory Blvd at Gaucho Road. Current Projects by Friends of Warner Parks Just as the natural environment of Warner Parks is never stagnant, there is always work to be done to maintain and improve the Parks. Friends of Warner Parks partners closely with Metro Parks on all projects and programs to leverage donor dollars and Metro budget funds to do the most good. Historic Structure Restoration From the distinctive stone walls and pillars to the picnic shelters enjoyed by so many, work to maintain and restore Warner Parks’ historic features is important and never done. Friends of Warner Parks, Metro Parks, and other parties work together to ensure restoration and repair projects honor the work of the original craftsmen and builders. This includes the Steeplechase course and equestrian barn, various buildings on Warner Parks’ grounds, the WPA built historic shelters, stone gates, walls and pillars, and even cemeteries. Donor gifts and grant funds have been instrumental in many of these restoration projects. Currently 16 of the 20 historic shelters have been fully restored to their original condition. Friends of Warner Parks is currently restoring the last 4 shelters. These are schedule to be completed the first quarter of 2016. Partnering with Metro Parks, many of the 297 historic stone pillars have been repaired or restored. Yet there are many more that still need attention. This is an ongoing effort as funding becomes available. To get involved, contact FOWP Executive Director, Mark Weller. Invasive Plant Removal Friends of Warner Parks conducts invasive plant removal projects with volunteers and private contractor, Invasive Plant Control. Non-native, invasive plants such as privet, honeysuckle, tree of heaven, princess tree, Bradford pear, and many others threaten the native flora in Warner Parks. Friends of Warner Parks and Warner Park Nature Center staff works with schools and the public on education about this ongoing battle and conduct volunteer plant pull days in the late fall, winter and early spring. Grant funding from the TN Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry has supported these efforts in the sensitive Hill Forest. Trail maintenance and improvement Warner Parks’ primitive trails are perhaps their most well-used amenity. Lots of foot traffic from hikers and runners results in lots of wear and tear. Trail maintenance and improvement are ongoing projects requiring help from many hands. In partnership with Metro Parks, FOWP hosts volunteer work days, engaging the public in caring for these beloved trails. FOWP also partners with Metro Parks to manage and fund the summer S.W.E.A.T. team, a small group of skilled workers that complete major trail repairs over the course of eight weeks each summer. Mountain bike trails are maintained through the efforts of IMBA-SORBA of Middle Tennessee. Bird Education and Research Birds are a big deal in Warner Parks. The Nature Center is one of only a few places in the country where observers can watch bird banding in action! Bird research has been ongoing here since naturalist Amelia Laskey began her bluebird nesting box program in 1936. Bluebird populations have been tracked in the Parks ever since, making it one of the oldest nesting box programs in the world. Currently, Park staff and volunteers conduct extensive banding and bird counts, and take part in Project FeederWatch, a survey of winter bird populations across North America conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. Friends of Warner Parks is committed to funding these important Metro Park programs, which contribute to national ornithological records and enrich the lives of people (and birds) who live right here in Middle Tennessee. Contact the Nature Center at 615.352.6299 to learn more. Land Aquisition Protection, preservation, and stewardship are the three pillars of the Friends of Warner Parks mission. As southwestern Davidson County has grown in population, the need to protect the land surrounding the Warner Parks has become more urgent. In the early 2000s, the opportunity to purchase land adjacent to Percy and Edwin Warner Parks led the organization to mount three capital campaigns that resulted in the acquisition of an additional 448 acres of parkland. FOWP is in the process of turning this land over to Metro Parks, which will oversee the development of trails and interpretive installations over the coming years. The Burch Reserve is located across TN State Highway 100 across from Percy and Edwin Warner Parks. This parcel will one day be home to additional hiking trails, closed roadways, and other interpretive features. Construction has begun on the entrance to this area at the intersection of Old Hickory Boulevard and Highway 100. Check back for updates on progress! The Hill Forest is located between Highways 70 and 100. It includes the former farm site belonging to the H.G. Hill Family and an extremely rare 275-acre old growth forest and State Designated Natural Area. This land was acquired through Friends of Warner Parks fundraising efforts and the generosity of the Hill family who sold the land to FOWP at a reduced price. Public access is currently restricted to guided hikes by Warner Parks staff. To learn more, call Warner Park Nature Center at 615.352.6299.