The Warner Parks

a.k.a. Monkeyville

Welcome to the Warner Parks (authored by and used with permission from Deb Beazley)

Three prominent Nashvillians shared in the vision that produced the Warner Parks. The first of these, Colonel Luke Lea, was encouraged in this far-sighted plan by his father-in-law, Percy Warner. Warner, a life-long outdoorsman and nature lover, was a prominent Nashville businessman and served as chairman of the Park Board. In January of 1927, Colonel and Mrs. Lea generously deeded the initial 868 acres of land to the city. Following Percy Warner's unexpected death later that same year, Lea successfully petitioned the Board to name the new Park after his father-in-law. The Park commissioners then recognized Lea's contributions by naming one of the highest points in the Park Luke Lea Heights (now popularly known as Lea's Summit).

Following his brother Percy's death, Edwin Warner was named to the Park Board, and eventually he too became chairman. Edwin Warner was a driving force behind the acquisition and development of the Parks. In 1 937, the Park Board commemorated his valuable contributions by designating all the acquired property west and south of Old Hickory Boulevard as Edwin Warner Park.

Geologically, the Parks are located in the Nashville Basin. The hills and ridges that rise about 300 feet above the valleys are remnants of the surrounding Highland Rim. The underlying rock is limestone and many moss covered outcroppings expose rocks notably rich in fossils from life-forms that lived in a shallow sea 450 million years ago.

Most of the Parks consist of woods which lie within the Western Mesophytic Region of an Eastern Deciduous Forest. Diverse habitats are preserved and wildlife abounds here. The two dominant forest communities are oak/hickory and beech/maple. Approximately 110 species of trees, over 400 species of wildflowers and roughly 200 fungi have been identified. Some common trees include tulip poplar, walnut, persimmon, dogwood, black cherry, sassafras and pawpaw. Spring brings trilliums, trout lilies, Dutchman’s breeches and larkspur to the forest floor. Meadows bloom each fall with ironweed, goldenrod, daisies and butterfly-weed. Visitors can enjoy looking and listening for close to 200 species of birds and at least 30 different mammals, large and small. The Park is also home to over 40 species of reptiles and amphibians.

This urban forest is a unique treasure in Nashville because it grants relief from the pressures of urban living by providing a peaceful place for relaxation, reflection, wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, horseback riding, strolling, hiking and many other responsible recreational pursuits. It also offers a place to encourage appreciation and respect for our natural world and our fellow human beings who share it.

Read more here at the Friends of Warner Parks website

This marathon is not affiliated with the Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation of Nashville and Davidson County. Any net proceeds will be donated as an unrestricted gift to The Friends of Warner Parks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and stewardship of Percy and Edwin Warner Parks.