Friends of Rotary Park

This is a service provided to the users of Rotary Park in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee. It is hosted by Friends of Rotary Park, a newly formed volunteer group that is dilligently working to improve the trail network at the park. This site provides information about current, past, and future trail development.


Rotary Park is a county-owned natural park in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee. It consists of two adjoining tracts of land that make up about 95 acres of mostly undeveloped, wooded land. There is one park entrance/exit that is paved and runs to the back of the park. There are three pavilions along the roadway with the largest being at the road's end. Rotary Park has an extensive trail network and is open to hikers and bikers. The new push for extensive trail work is necessary because most trails were improperly built by ATVs and motorcycles. Motorized vehicles are now banned from the park. Furthermore, the trails are showing signs of serious erosion. Most recently, a large amount of sustainable trail located outside of the park's boundary has been taken by development. The Friends of Rotary Park is dedicated to restoring and improving the park. Those interested in joining Friends of Rotary Park can do so by contacting Chris Clark at 931-801-3898. Dues are $25.00 for a family membership.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We Need Trail Names


Our workday on Saturday, March 17th went great. We had several people show up and pitch in. We even recruited a few guys who came to bike. There's nothing like guys clearing briars in Lycra and spandex. We closed some old trail and prepared it for revegitation, we benched a new section of the medium/perimeter loop, we chainsawed and cleared some remaining tornado damage, and we have just about got the medium loop open for business. As planned, that loop should be open in a few weeks, marking the completion of another large goal set by FORP.

I feel we are moving along nicely with our projects at the park. I am seeing more and more people use the park as a result of our efforts. As we worked on Saturday, we were passed several times by the Northeast Women's Cross Country Team as they trained for an upcoming meet. I also saw ten people on mountain bikes in the park at one time. I have not seen that many people there to bike at one time since we began losing trail to the developers, pre-tornado. There were also multiple groups walking dogs and playing on the playground. It is such a good feeling to see the park gradually come back to life and become better than ever before.


Our next big project is proper signage for the trail network. One of our original written goals was/remains to make the park more user friendly by providing signs and maps to park users. We have found a sign company that provides a superior, environmentally conscious product at a very affordable price. If you care to check them out, it is Wood Product Signs at We will be going with their routed recycled plastic, the same product currently being used in many national parks and by the U.S. Forest Service. We have the funds to begin buying the signs but we have not yet named the trails.

So, our most important task at this point is to name the trails so we can begin ordering signs. Specifically, we just need three names, one for the small loop, the medium loop, and the perimeter loop. Once we have agreed on names, we can submit them to Parks and Recreation and the Conservation Board for approval. Once we have approval, we can place an order.

Stacy Goodwin with Parks and Recreation had a great idea. It is to name the trail something that has a color in the name and use that color to mark the trail. For example, if a trail were named "Red Fox Loop" it would be marked with the color red. If a trail were named "White Tail Loop" it would be blazed with white. You get the picture.

Please submit your suggestions to my e-mail so I can share them with the group. I desperately want to get this project underway. I also want everyone to have some say in what the trails get named. I am going to put a deadline for submissions on Saturday, March 31st. That way, we can get this underway. I look forward to hearing from everyone.

See you on the trails,


Thursday, March 15, 2007

No More Horses

Great news! Horses are no longer allowed at Rotary Park. Many months ago, FORP asked Parks and Recreation Director Stacy Goodwin to present a proposal to ban horses from Rotary Park. The proposal was put before the Montgomery County Conservation Board. Members of Friends of Rotary Park including Carl Gadsey and myself were called on to explain to the board why horses should be banned. Among those reasons were: user conflicts (horses are easily spooked by dogs, other animals, bikers, and hikers and can harm other users or their riders opening the county up to serious civil liability), severe damage to the trails caused by equestrian use, the fact that many of the horses are not properly shoed for that type of use, and damage done to the field by parking horse trailers off of the paved parking lot. The board agreed but needed the approval of the county attorney. Since the original proposal, the county had to review the federal grants used for the park's initial purchase and upgrades to make sure that such a ban would not affect future grant initiatives.

I have not previously written about this on this Blog. The reason being is I hoped that this would be able to proceed through with no opposition from the equestrians. Word did not leak and there was no opposition. Now, it is official and we can cheer publicly. NO MORE HORSES! I understand that the equestrians are just as passionate about their sport/hobby as we are ours. However, Rotary Park is not large enough to accommodate them, the trails are not built to support equestrian traffic, and the parking lot is not adequate for their trailers. Law enforcement will still be able to bring their horses into the park but they never use the trails. Their presence is a good thing. FORP will be working with the county to have the proper signage installed.

Also, the county adopted new park rules for all Montgomery County parks. The county will maintain these rules with some being posted in the parks. One rule to note is that no one can build trail in any of the parks without first getting the approval of the Parks and Recreation Director. At this time, FORP is the only organization authorized to build trail in Rotary Park. Other benefits to Rotary Park come by way of a budget increase for the Parks and Rec department. Part of that budget includes money allocated for a new park survey and boundary markers to clearly mark the boundaries of the park. Both of these things are long overdue. Kudos to Stacy for working hard to get this done. Thanks, Stacy.

Other good news, our meeting went very well last night. We had several people renew their membership for FORP's second year. We also had a new family join. In all, we accepted $100 last night by way of membership dues.

The only bad news I have to report is that we have decided to cancel the big workday for Saturday, April 21. I did not realize that was the same weekend as Rivers and Spires. I encourage everyone to go and enjoy the Rivers and Spires Festival. It is always a great time and reminds us of what a fantastic city we live in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Things to Bring to a Workday


I know that we have several new folks planning to attend the workday this weekend. I just wanted to be sure that everyone knew what to bring. If you have any of this stuff, I suggest you bring it. If not, bring what you can. We want you there regardless and we can use your help even if you have no tools. So, here it is. Bring: gloves (or get blisters – simple), water (or dehydrate), a Maddox (this is that pick thing with a wide spade type deal on the other side – it is your best friend on workdays. If you don't have one and want to go buy one, get a #2 type Maddox. That one has a small axe blade on one side for cutting roots. They are between $15 and $25 at Sears, Lowe's, or Home Depot. They also work great when doing yard work.), a bowhead rake (also called a garden rake - its the steel one with 10 to 12 thick steel teeth).

Those are the most important things to bring if you can. If you have a wheelbarrow and it is not a problem for you to bring it, please do. I will bring mine but we could use two or three. If you bring a shovel or a hoe, we can keep you busy with those as well.

I look forward to seeing everyone. I hope we can get a great deal done as Spring is upon us and traffic is building everyday at the park.

See you soon,


Monday, March 12, 2007

Early March Update


Just a reminder that there is a workday scheduled for this Saturday, March 17, 2007, St. Patrick's Day, at 8:00 a.m. Meet at Pavilion I. I expect that we will have a good turn out. I have met some new hikers and bikers that I expect to come join our crew, including fellow hiker Vic Mitchell and his dog, Buck. I have several projects lined up including: closing off a section of trail that has been recently re-routed, benching (the never ending battle) a new section of trail, clearing downed trees and brush from the tornado beside Pavilion III to make room for a new section of trail that will connect the medium loop, and reinforcing some of our rolling water bars. Adam, Kurt, and David, please bring your chainsaws and safety equipment if you can.

There is also a workday scheduled for Saturday, April 21. I hope that we can use that to get the medium loop completely open.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, March 14. It is going to be at the county library on Madison Street near downtown at 6:00 p.m. I expect that we will be in the meeting room to the right of the vestibule. I had previously announced the meeting was to be at 5:30 but it had to be changed. because there is a Conservation Board meeting at 4:30 at the courthouse. Several of us are planning on being at the Conservation Board meeting as there will be some Rotary Park issues discussed including the expected adoption of the new park rules.


I have been in contact with the company that makes the signs for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Parks Service. They have a great product that will last for many, many years with little or no maintenance. Stacy Goodwin and Friends of Rotary Park have been exploring ways to pay for the new signs. We believe that we have found a way and hope to start installing signs within the next few months.

Earlier this winter, I marked a new section of trail leading up the hill from the Boy Scout Bridge to Pavilion III. Since then I have hiked it several times and made a few changes. Kurt and Glen have also hiked it with me and made suggestions, which I have or will incorporate. On March 3rd, I cleared ¾ of the trail. This section replaces the fall-line trail that went straight up/down the hill connecting the Boy Scout Bridge and Pavilion III.

This new trail serves four major purposes: 1) it will greatly reduce erosion issues; 2) it directs the user to a beautiful view at the top of the ridgeline that was not utilized by the old trail; 3) it adds a little extra trail for us all to use; and 4) it makes it much easier to climb the steep hill up to Pavilion III. I think that everyone will enjoy this new section if for no other reason than the view. When Adam first rode the new trail, I heard him break and say, "Wow, I had no idea that it was so pretty over here." He stopped his bike and took in the view for a moment, something we mountain bikers don't do enough of.

The final section of the medium loop is currently being flagged. There are a lot of gaps to be filed in, in part because tornado damage still blocks the path. However, the trail will traverse some very scenic parts of the park. I expect that the medium loop will be completed by late spring/ early summer (and we can check another project off our list of original goals. Way to go, crew).

There are two Eagle Scout Projects currently underway in the park. Both include the installation of new bridges in needy areas. Be on the look out for these projects and thank the scouts when you see them. They are great assets to the park.

Also, if you have not yet paid dues for 2007, please try to bring that with you to the workday. We are trying to build the coffer for some upcoming projects.

I expect that 2007 will see great improvements in Rotary Park that even the least observant user will notice and appreciate. If you have any comments or suggestions about any of our projects, please do not hesitate to contact me about it.

See you on the trials.

Chris Clark