Park Friends, Inc. (PFI) is a unique non-profit group dedicated to providing a community voice for all of Memphis' 165 City Parks. PFI is a Midtown-based group that focuses volunteer efforts on Overton Park, the grand old park of the Memphis, dedicated in 1906 and frequently referred to as the Crown Jewel of Memphis. PFI also supports other park groups and speaks out on park issues facing the entire community.
Park Friends has successfully led efforts to stop inappropriate building and development within Overton Park in the past. PFI is working hard, professionally and courteously with many groups in the Overton Park Alliance, Overton Park Conservancy and City Leaders to preserve, maintain and protect Overton Park, its Greensward and State Natural Area Old Forest from development.
See adjacent column for the current donation needs.
Thank you for your generosity with your donations so far! Year end is a few days away, so please send in your donations and write it off your taxes for 2020. You can donate on-line through our website www.parkfriends.net or you can send a check to Park Friends, Inc. at 165 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 38103. With no annual party, why not donate today.
By engaging local officials and concerned citizens alike, PFI helps protect our parks for today and for our children in the future. PFI also organizes regular volunteer clean-ups, maintains the Old Forest and Limestone Trails and plants trees.
PFI, HBC Trailworks and the Mike Cooley Overton Park 10K Trail Race have already contributed significantly to the trail work and maintenance of Limestone and Nature Trails, installation and maintenance of the 14 foot-bridges on the Limestone Trail, maintenance of the 1932 Carriage Bridges in the Old Forest, erecting and maintaining new Trail Signs and the refurbishment and maintenance of the 6 Stone Bridges connecting the golf course and the rest of Overton park and the planting of many trees all over Overton Park! Park Friends thanks you for your support!
Thank you very much!
Sam Blair President.
While enjoying the Greensward and Old Forest please say thank you so much for the Ladies in Tennis Shoes in 1969 hiring Charlie Newman at Burch Porter & Johnson to litigate against the mighty USDOT and TDOT to prevent the route of I-40 through the Old Forest, Greensward and the Park.
Also say thank you so much Mayor Strickland, Doug McGowan, the Memphis zoo, OPC, Councilperson Jeff Warren, Overton Park Alliance and all supporters of the Park who recently solved the zoo parking issues without the loss of the Greensward and the reclamation of 17 acres for the Old Forest. In attempts to solve immediate problems we need to remind ourselves of real, long term goals like the preservation of icons like Robert Kessler's design of Overton Park's Greensward and preservation of the 11,000 year old Old Forest in the early 1900s. The Greensward and Old Forest are so much more valuable than an Interstate route or parking lot, thank you everyone.
Thank you to the Boy Scouts for multiple days demonstrating their volunteer spirit: the Scouts and their fathers (including Jim Gilliland) have worked on the Poplar Connector, the Limestone Loop Trail and with Bill Bullock and his invasive removal volunteer team. Way to go Scouts!
THANK YOU to Coach Shankman's Cross Country and Track Teams. The Rhodes Teams along with HBC Trailworks and OPC volunteered and worked really hard in October 2021 to repair and refurbish the Footbridges and replaced tons of limestone to clean up and refurbish the Limestone Loop Trail. The Limestone Loop and Nature Trails are in really great shape.
To volunteer for invasive removal contact Bill Bullock at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are still clearing ice storm damage, please report Trail blockages to Sam Blair at email@example.com.
11th Annual Mike Cooley Overton Park 10K Trail Race was a success on Saturday January 29, 2022 at 8:00am at the Overton Park Golf House. Thank you for all the volunteers, supporters and Race participants, especially the Race volunteer coordinator aka the Princess. Next Race will be January 28, 2023. Enter at https://overtonpark10k.raceroster.com/ We had the same great sponsors to thank this year: our title sponsor Barr Brands, and all our Race partners, Start2Finish, Bluff City Sports, HBC Trailworks, Burch Porter & Johnson, Breakaway Running, Marcos Pizza and Southern Whimsy.
With COVID-19 and Golf House repairs the annual party has been postponed several times, we are quite hopeful we will have the Annual Park Friends Party Friday February 10, 2023 6:00 pm at the Golf House. The Spring Music Series has been cancelled for golf house repairs. The Fall Music Wednesdays are scheduled for September 21 and October 5 & 19, 2022, 6:00-8:00 pm.
Thank you Bill Bullock - one of our Board members - and your team for your continued excellent, volunteerism and leadership in removing systematically the many invasive and non-native species in the Old Forest, including Privet, Ivy, Euonymus, Honeysuckle, Cherry Laurels, and many other non-native, invasive species. You and your volunteers are saving the Old Forest.
For several years now HBC and PFI have made a concerted effort to pull Chinese Honeysuckle up by the roots in an effort to save your Oak Trees and other viable species along the Trails. You may have noticed these Oaks with their red Fall leaves last October and November, hopefully you will see more of them this Fall. When you volunteer we will teach you the best way to perform this task and one day the Oak you save may be the tallest tree in the Forest. Someone has been breaking the little trees along the Trails, please report such activity to us.
HBC Trailworks volunteers have refurbished old Trail Signs and erected new Trail Signs in the Red (along North Parkway), Green (between the Red and Central Forest Sections) and Orange Trail (southeast corner) Sections in the Old Forest. OPC erected new Trail Signs in the Central Forest (the Old Forest Trail) with a different design but along the original Trail Signs installed and mapped by Park Friends many years ago.
The HBC/PFI volunteers have kept the Trails in great shape, enjoy the Trails and check out the new Trail Signs throughout the Forest.
11th Annual Mike Cooley Overton Park 10K Trail Race is scheduled Saturday January 29, 2022 at 8:00am at the Overton Park Golf House. Enter at https://raceroster.com/events/2021/37522/mike-cooley-overton-park-10k-trail-race We have the same great sponsors to thank this year: our title sponsor Barr Brands, presenting sponsor Briggs Equipment and all our race partners, Start2Finish, Bluff City Sports, HBC Trailworks, Burch Porter & Johnson, Breakaway Running, Marcos Pizza and Southern Whimsy.
Thank you to all Park friends volunteers, HBC Trailworks, OPC, Urban Forestry for clearing the Trails after the storms in January 2020. Thank you to our own Bill Bullock and his team for his tireless work removing invasives and exotics from the Old Forest. Thank you Rhodes College and Eric Bridges with OPC for their scientific study of the Old Forest to help manage and protect the Forest. Thank you AmeriCorps for their repeat volunteerism.
THANK YOU to Coach Shankman's Cross Country and Track Teams. The Rhodes Teams along with Hilton, HBC Trailworks and OPC volunteered multiple days and worked really hard to clean up the Park, pick up trash and refurbish the Limestone and Nature Trails, which are now in really great shape. The Poplar Connector now William's Way also has new limestone (again), soon the Nature Trails will be wonderful with the Woodland Phlox and other natural flowers blooming in the Old Forest, so after these multiple days of trail maintenance, run, jog, hike or stroll and enjoy the Ole Forest!
THANK YOU to all of the volunteers that planted trees, plants and flowers along South Parkway and the golf course in Overton Park and the Limestone Trail work crew that really put in a heavy effort to clean the gutters, foot bridges and the Trail, haul in tons of limestone, fix and maintain the Trail and eliminate the troublesome spots. WooHoo! Run the Trails!
Thank you for attending the meetings and providing all of the good public comments and suggestions for the Overton Park parking plan. This summer Phase I of the construction at Prentiss Place begins. Please use your bicycles and walking legs, share rides or use paid transportation and if in your own vehicle use North Parkway entrance and parking spaces, as the construction will in the short term reduce parking spaces. Thank you for not parking on the Greenswards. Also please support and donate to OPC to save the Greensward at www.overtonpark.org/greensward. OPC must pay its one half share for the construction of the parking plan beginning June to end Greensward parking forever.
Donate, Honor and/or Join Park Friends Today! Your donations, honorariums and memberships provide us the much needed funds for these important projects within Overton Park and other Memphis parks. This website and email blasts will inform on the latest news about Overton Park and our efforts as well as broader parks issues.
As always, thank you for your support!
Thank you. Sam Blair President
Memorials and Honorariums
See more regarding Lisa Sloan under Rebuild the Trails. Lisa is not improving even though she is receiving the best care at the Jewish Home at the end of Walnut Grove.
Riley Higgins November 5, 1999 - July 18, 2016
We are very saddened to report that Barbara and Vince Higgins lost their son Riley. Vince has been a board member for almost 10 years for Park Friends. Riley was a great person. Riley helped us perform trail maintenance along the Overton Park Nature Trails and moved Park Friends historical materials to new storage. We honor Riley; he will be missed by all!
Michael Shannon Cooley, 1968-2016
We honor the memory of our friend and board member who recently passed. The numerous donations in Mike's honor are deeply appreciated by his family and friends. These gifts will be used to further the causes he worked tirelessly for and believed in so strongly. We will all miss him. The support and turnout for the 6th Annual Overton Park 10K Trail Race was awesome, Mike, his family and friends say thank you to all the volunteers and participants.
Recent Volunteer Activities
Volunteers Blair, Wolfman, Barbara G., Barbara B., Linda, Ward, Brooks, Reagan, Andrew, Princess, John, Jr., John, III, Foster, Elizabeth, her brother and father, Jimmy Dean, Eric, Tina, Susannah, Susan, William, Don, Mary, Lee, Mike, OPC, Park Friends, Baker Donelson, HBC Trailworks and many others performed awesome work on the Limestone Trail, the Nature Trails, Foot Bridges, Carriage Bridges and Stone Bridges last Saturday (10/15/16) in Overton Park's SNA Old Forest. THANK YOU!!! Sam
See Rebuild the Trails for more.