Warner Parks Planning and Projects
The Warner Parks have witnessed a dramatic increase in use over the last several years, with annual visitation now exceeding one million. This is evidence that Nashvillians value what the Warner Parks have to offer more than ever. But it also means that there are increasing signs of overuse and even abuse by cars parking in undesignated areas, braided and eroded trails, heavy traffic and other impacts. In order to protect the parks’ natural and cultural resources for future generations and to protect and enhance the quality and safety of the user experience, Metro Parks is taking some steps to address these concerns. Work is currently underway that will expand and improve parking, restore habitat, and convert some roads to trail. The work is scheduled for completion in Spring 2016.
Parking improvements have been made at Gaucho Road near the Steeplechase, at the Chickering Road entrance and in two locations at Deep Well off Highway 100. These sites were selected because they offer easy access to the trail and road systems, and parking could be integrated without significantly impacting the character of the landscape. The total number of new spaces in these lots is 150. Each lot includes a trailhead with map and a port-a-john and will utilize pervious gravel surfaces. The Gaucho Road and Chickering lots each include new connector trails to the Mossy Ridge (red) trail loop.
Because demand for parking sometimes exceeds availability, visitors have resorted to parking in undesignated locations, causing damage in the process. Not only is the damage unsightly, parking in riparian and root zones negatively impacts water quality and aquatic habitat, and kills trees. Some of the areas most damaged by this activity will be naturalized and parking barriers will be installed.
By far the busiest road in the park is the 5.8 mile loop. About two-thirds of the traffic is pedestrians and bikes; one third is cars. In order to improve safety and reduce user conflicts, sections of this road will be converted to multi-use trail and access by motor vehicles will be redirected to other roads within the park. In addition to reducing traffic by one-third, trail conversion also creates a 700-acre car-free zone, which benefits wildlife. The net gain will be a much higher quality user experience. Emergency vehicles will be able to access the trails as they do now, further aided by enhanced signage at entrances.
We recognize that many people, especially those with limited mobility, still enjoy a scenic drive through the park. There will still be over ten miles of open road in Percy Warner Park and on those roads we’ll make intersection and signage improvements to ensure that the public can still take a high quality, beautiful drive through some of the most spectacular parts of the park.
Additional Percy Warner Park Road to Trail information
Burch Reserve Connector
The Burch Reserve is a new addition to Edwin Warner Park located north of Highway 100, across from the Nature Center. The approximately 250-acre tract includes gently rolling fields and steep forested slopes that are slated for hiking trails. The Burch Reserve Connector will provide public access to the site as well as a pedestrian connector to the nature center. The project is being completed in two phases. Phase One, which includes a parking lot and trailhead, entry monuments, traffic signal improvements and connector trail, was completed in Fall 2015. Phase Two includes a tunnel under the CSX railroad tracks and a trail from the Phase One parking through the tunnel and on to the hiking trails on the Burch Reserve. Design work is complete on Phase Two and construction will be completed in Fall 2016. The Burch Reserve will open to the public when Phase Two is completed. Meanwhile, the Warner Park Nature Center offers periodic guided hikes of the Burch Reserve.