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natural trail enhancement

Jan 07, 2024Jan 07, 2024

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some trails in Metro Louisville are getting enhancements to make the experience better for people who use them. People close to the project say it matters to Kentuckians.

Caring for the physical beauty of the parks is what Kendall Spyke does in his free time. Surrounded by green space is where he loves to be. He's what's called a park steward.

"I help the park, help Louisville Olmsted Parks, in my case, [I] do evasive plant management, which is what a lot of this stuff is," Spyke explained.

A couple of years ago, Spyke retired from his 30-year career at UPS.

Now, he runs the trail and mountain bikes at Cherokee Park. The work has him very close to some trails at Cherokee Park. Trails that are getting some needed love.

Spyke explained, "A natural trail in an environment like this takes maintenance, and sometimes it takes some renewal. I’m thrilled that they’re spending some money to get some renewed trails and to fix some trails that were there and to put some new trails where the old ones perhaps needed to be removed, so it's great."

As part of the Natural Surface Trail Plan, Olmsted Parks Conservancy is enhancing trails at Cherokee, Seneca and Iroquois Parks. The conservancy hired a professional trail-building team. They’ve built about two miles of hiking-only trails at Iroquois Park—with positive feedback. At Seneca Park, many highly eroded trails were changed.

Major Waltmon, the project director at Olmsted Parks Conservancy, told Spectrum News 1, "Here in Cherokee, we’re making an effort to separate the uses. Mostly because we don't want user conflict. When you have hikers and mountain bikers on the same trail, sometimes we have user-conflict."

Waltmon said that 50% of the $200,000 project cost is being paid by donations to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy donations. The other 50% was earmarked by city council, Waltmon said, specifically for the trail project. It's work Spyke said matters for Kentucky.

Spyke said, "If we don't maintain them, they’re just going to get worn out and become less desirable places. If we can do stuff like this, getting rid of the stuff that shouldn't be here, then the stuff that is native to Kentucky has a greater chance to grow."