National Park Service provides recreation, conservation and economic development assistance to seven communities across the Southeast

Release Date: November 14, 2023
Contact: Andrea Walton, South Atlantic-Gulf Region

ATLANTA – The National Park Service (NPS) announced today the selection of seven new communities and partners across the southeast to receive expert consultation from the NPS to help spur local recreation, conservation and economic development opportunities.

The recipients — located in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee — were selected through a competitive process and will receive assistance to help make their rivers, trails, greenways and open spaces vital, life-enhancing parts of their communities.

"The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program supports communities by facilitating new opportunities for close to home outdoor recreation for all," Deirdre Hewitt, the NPS regional Rivers Trails, and Conservation Assistance program manager said. "This year, we are excited about the variety of projects in six different states ranging from cultural heritage and wetland restoration, to new greenway and paddling trails."

The new projects selected for assistance in 2023 include:


North Miami Adventure Trails

Located between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the 22-acre Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park features paved trails, playground and picnic facilities. With input from local youth, the City of North Miami plans to designate a new adventure trail that allows children to build an adventure of their own imaginative making. NPS will assist by facilitating idea generation, providing suggestions for the trail design and routing and locating sustainable funding methods for the materials and maintenance of the trail.


Lucky Shoals Greenspace Design

The Lucky Shoals Community Association, Inc. (LSCA), an organization working with residents of Norcross with representatives from over 15 neighborhoods, identified the need for more park greenspace in the community. The LSCA has previously organized community outreach via canvassing to assess greenspace opportunities and potential sites. Building on this momentum, NPS will assist by continuing public engagement, identifying funding sources and collaborating to develop conceptual plans for parks, greenspaces and connections to potential local neighborhoods.


Paducah Greenway Trail

Over the last several years, the City of Paducah has developed a greenway trail system that links downtown, the riverfront and four parks together. The City will continue building trail connections in parts of Paducah that are currently limited in outdoor recreation opportunities. Expanding the greenway system will provide more residents with increased access to healthy alternative transportation for biking, running and walking. NPS will help facilitate the strategic goals and objectives of the project and contribute to the overall conceptual plan and design. The City and NPS will also conduct public outreach activities for the updated greenway trails master plan.


Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle Restoration

New Orleans’ Sankofa Wetland Park strives to enhance protection from hurricanes and flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward. With NPS assistance from 2019-2021, the community actively engaged in the park’s design and continues to assist in its caretaking and development with the non-profit Sankofa Community Development Corporation (CDC). The Sankofa CDC desires to restore a nearby 435-acre site into a forested wetland with a trail system, increasing the resiliency of the surrounding community against storm surge and flooding and providing recreational opportunities. NPS will assist with the project’s community engagement, and engineers and wetland ecologists will collaborate to further develop the technical scientific and ecological needs of the project.


Lake City Water Trail

Designated in 2022, the South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers National Water Trail features 60 miles of cypress and tupelo swampland that provides floodplain habitat for many endangered species of flora and fauna. The Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau plans to extend the trail by 30 miles to an area of Florence County with limited paddling opportunities. The plan also includes new overnight camping and access sites. NPS will coordinate and lead public meetings to gauge the priorities of several local communities, analyzing the proposed trail for new access points and shaping an implementation strategy for the establishment and sustainability of the trail extension.

Lincolnville Recreational Historic Park

The Town of Lincolnville, founded in 1867 by Rev. Richard H. Cain and six other men resisting racial discrimination in Charleston, is part of the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network for its significance as a historically African-American community. The Lincolnville Preservation and Historical Society, Inc. desires to further showcase the town’s extensive cultural history through the development of a new park and recreation trails. Located within the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (CHC), the Gullah Geechee CHC will assist the project by providing leadership in preserving and documenting the traditions and culture of early settlers of Lincolnville. NPS will further assist by helping to develop a park plan and several interconnecting trails that highlight the town’s history. 


Cumberland Gap Trails Alliance 

On the border of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, the Cumberland Gap is one of three natural breaks in the Appalachian Mountains. People have traveled through the Cumberland Gap for thousands of years, with many historic and current trails intersecting in the area, including the Warrior’s Path Trail, Boone Trace Trail, Cumberland Trail and the Great Eastern Trail. To better coordinate these trails and their planning efforts, the City of Cumberland Gap seeks to create a new trails alliance in the form of an overarching organization that will provide a common forum for trail users, education, advocacy, coordination, maintenance and trail master planning to identify and address gaps in the overall trail network. The City also desires to become an official Tennessee Trail Town, and the NPS will assist with organizational development and strategic planning to establish a framework to guide Cumberland Gap Trails Alliance partners in the future.

In addition to the seven new projects, RTCA will provide consulting services for communities in Kentucky and Louisiana to help them achieve their conservation and outdoor recreation visions. RTCA is also continuing a progressive relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist devastated communities in rebuilding and recovery efforts by providing technical assistance services in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. 

Playground at the Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park in North Miami.
Playground at the Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park in North Miami. The City is looking to create an adventure trail that starts at the playground.

NPS Photo

Last updated: November 14, 2023