November 3, 2010 - The City of Knoxville's Parks and Recreation, along with Ijams Nature Center, will host the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the 100-acre Ross Marble Natural Area on Saturday, November 6, at 11 a.m.
The acreage, located across the street from Ijams Nature Center, was donated by Imerys, Inc. to the City of Knoxville (via Legacy Parks Foundation) in 2007.
Since then, Ijams Nature Center has been preparing the site for public use. A partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club has resulted in 3.5 miles of multi-use trails for hikers and mountain bikers. Additional trails will be added in 2011 through a State of Tennessee recreational trails grant.
The Ross Marble Natural Area, adjacent to Mead's Quarry, is a post-industrial site featuring undisturbed woodlands, rocky outcrops, and a stunning gorge.
The Ross Marble Quarry incorporates a man-made rock bridge offering panoramic views of the former quarry site, while underneath the lower quarry features carved Tennessee marble shelves and rock faces.
A series of gated caves protect native wildlife, including bats and the rare and threatened Berry cave salamander.