Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Louisville Parks and Recreation seek public input on conceptual plan to improve natural trails in the Olmsted Parks

August 11, 2020

Olmsted Parks Conservancy, in partnership with Louisville Parks and Recreation, conducted a trail study last fall with help from Alta Planning and Design to learn how to better control soil erosion and improve the existing natural trail system in Cherokee Park, Iroquois Park, and Seneca Park.

Combining feedback from the 770 responses received from the Trail Usage Survey with the insight received at the public meetings last fall, a new conceptual natural surface trail plan has been developed.

This natural surface trail plan provides a conceptual 25-year guide for three of Louisville’s Olmsted-designed parks. While Cherokee, Seneca, and Iroquois Parks are well-loved community assets, their trail systems have a history of challenging issues including overwhelming use, rogue trails, conflict between trail users, and environmental degradation.

Many of these issues were noted in the 1994 Master Plan for Louisville’s Olmsted Parks and Parkways and still persist today.

The conceptual natural surface trail plan provides recommendations for enhancing the existing trail systems including identifying renovation projects, establishing new trails, implementing trail closures, and recommendations for ongoing management.

To create the conceptual plan, Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Louisville Parks and Recreation:

  • Listened to numerous park visitors on their needs for the trail system and incorporated their ideas to develop a connected network of trails that provides equitable access to users while balancing user needs and demand.
  • Studied the environmental impacts of the current trail system and looked for ways to develop a sustainable trail system that limits erosion, the spread of invasive species, and other impacts to the landscapes of the parks.
  • Considered the long-term maintenance and financial needs of the trail system.
  • Maintained the historic integrity of the original design by following Frederick Law Olmsted’s design philosophy in the development of the trail system.

Two interactive maps have been developed by Alta Trail Design—one for Cherokee and Seneca Park, and one for Iroquois Park. The interactive maps will be used to collect feedback from park visitors on the conceptual plan and can be accessed by visiting http://olmstedparks.org/trailplan. No additional public meetings will be held to review the plan due to the pandemic.

Feedback received by August 31, 2020 will be taken into consideration and incorporated into the natural trail study / conceptual plan. Implementation of the final natural trail surface plan is dependent upon raising the necessary funds for the project.


About Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc., a non-profit organization, was established in 1989 to restore, enhance and forever protect Louisville’s historic 17 Olmsted Parks and 6 Parkways. Working as a non-profit partner with Louisville Parks and Recreation, the Conservancy provides planning and funding for park improvements and natural areas management through donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. In 2019, Olmsted Parks Conservancy celebrated 30 years of connecting nature and neighborhood and overseeing $40 million in investment in our Olmsted Parks.  olmstedparks.org 

About Louisville Parks and Recreation
Louisville Parks and Recreation, a nationally accredited parks and recreation agency, manages 120 parks and six parkways on more than 13,000 acres of land, and operates recreation programs for all ages.  Its mission is to create a City of Parks where people can play, learn, grow and be healthy.  The mission is accomplished by taking care of all parks properties and creating new ones, by providing safe and diverse recreational programs, and by protecting our public lands and resources for future generations. www.bestparksever.com