Share News about Forest Park and Learn More!
Share News about Forest Park and Learn More!
On Friday, June 24: We celebrated the completion of Forest Park’s Dual Path Loop with a Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting & Commemorative Gift Giveaway. The event took place on the dual path located directly behind the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center. The day’s events where topped off with remarks from Mayor Francis Slay who proclaimed June 24, 2011, as Forest Park Forever Day in the City of St. Louis, while the governor’s office declared the same in the State of Missouri.
Saturday, June 25: Forest Park Forever in partnership with North Star Ice Cream Specialties, Inc. hosted the North Star Ice Cream Social from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Educational Center. In addition to wonderful frozen treats courtesy of North Star, the celebration featured the music stylings of St. Louis’ very own bands “Satin,” “The Greer’s” and jazz saxophonist “Rod Tate.” This family friendly celebration was a fun event for all ages!
Sunday, June 26: Celebrations came to a close on Sunday with the “I Love Forest Park” 5K. This run/walk and half-mile youth fun run brought out 325 participants and went through the eastern end of Forest Park, starting and finishing at the Upper Muny parking lot. Proceeds from the 5K will benefit the maintenance of Forest Park.
Link for overall 5K results: http://www.bigriverrunning.com/FPF_11_OA.htm
Link for the age group results is: http://www.bigriverrunning.com/FPF_11_AG.htm
During our three-day celebration, we offered a Special Membership Promotion and member-only raffle from June 24-26th. Guests who bought one new or renewing membership received a free gift membership of the same value. Additionally, all members, renewing and new, signed up for a chance to win an Ultimate Forest Park Membership Basket which included memberships to the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center, The Missouri History Museum and Saint Louis Art Museum. Congratulations to the two lucky winners Angie Stratton and Fang Hsieh and the 70 new members who joined Forest Park Forever!Share News about Forest Park and Learn More!
A Brief History of the Forest Park Path System
One hundred and thirty-five years ago today, June 24, 1876, the citizens of St. Louis dedicated a vast expanse of 1,300 acres of rolling landscape known as Forest Park. The park was envisioned as a place for the average man and his family to relax and breathe clean air, away from the smoke, grime and crowds of the city. Even though the founding founders knew that the park had tremendous potential, they could not have dreamt what the future of Forest Park would hold.
Even though the original park plan included an extensive network of walkways, the roads and carriageways received most of the attention. By 1879, pedestrians began arriving at the edge of the park on the Wabash Railroad. Six years later, the first streetcars reached the park. Pedestrians became a recognized element to contend with and conflicts soon were arising among horses and people. At this same time, the problem was exasperated by the influx of a new novelty, the bicycle. By the late 1890s, there was a clear need to separate these various modes of transportation by providing bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways. The walkways were the first to receive increased attention. Over the next few years, walkways and pedestrian bridges were continually added. In 1898, the cyclists, or “wheelmen” as they were then known, received their own cinder bike path. While roadways were distributed throughout the park, walkways were found predominantly in the eastern half and bicycle pathways occupied the western portion. By the turn of the century, the first indications of a system of dedicated paths had been born.
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, better known as the 1904 World’s Fair, utilized the western half of Forest Park and as a result, many roads and bikeways were severely affected. When the Fair concluded, the ravaged land was required to be restored to a park like setting. Even though many of the roads and bikeways were replaced, the park had changed. One of the most dramatic things to impact Forest Park was the introduction of the automobile in the early 1900s making separation of use even more important. The cinder bicycle path, which was now seldom used, was converted to a bridle trail. And, by 1912, the trail had been updated and expanded from a scattered network to one that encircled the park. The dedicated paths were revised for the new needs.
Shortly after Forest Park was returned to the people of St. Louis following the World’s Fair, a major building program occurred in the park. The Zoo, Art Museum, Muny, World’s Fair Pavilion, Missouri History Museum and even the golf course were added. This renewed park drew large numbers of people. They arrived by car, streetcar, bicycle and on-foot. Ease of access to the park and its new attractions became a priority. Additional walkways were added to help separate the pedestrians from the traffic on the roads. The dedicated walkways saw a resurgence of attention and helped to make the walks more pleasurable. People rediscovered the joy of walking.
The path system would continue to evolve and by 1919, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch would highlight the fact that horses were seldom seen outside of Forest Park’s bridle path. Stables off the south side of the park had provided the needs of the equestrians, both seasoned and novice and yet they would meet their end in late 1968.
In 1969, the City paved a small portion of the now vacant bridle trail for the use of the bicyclists. This was the beginnings of a recreational “bicycle” path in Forest Park and in 1973 a true perimeter bicycle path would become a reality. This path combined the portion paved by the City, some of the remaining old bridle trail and some new extensions. Henry Stolar, an alderman from 1969 to 1973, with collaboration from Edward Ruessing, provided the leadership to see the fulfillment of this facility. It signaled one of the first efforts to rejuvenate Forest Park. The original dedicated paths that had evolved from the late 1800s would have a rebirth and returned to bicycle usage.
Another decade would pass before the original Forest Park Master Plan was presented in 1983. It had been commissioned by the Community Development Agency (CDA) of St. Louis and prepared by Team Four, CHNMB Associates, Fleming Corporation and Leisch and Associates. It recognized the need for a new “path” system in Forest Park. As the years passed following the paving and extension of the old bridle path, the user-needs had changed dramatically. Bicyclists, now joined by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, strollers, and wheelchairs, tried to coexist on a singular facility and competition for the path was climbing. Fitness, through a host of different means, became the norm not the exception. As with the carriages and the bicycles of old, a new solution needed to be found. The 1983 Forest Park Master Plan recognized that specific need. Their solution was a new DUAL PATH. Their recommendation was:
“One of the most successful and well-used recent improvements to the park is the bicycle path which circles the park near its edges. . . . conflicts with other types of recreation on the . . . path should be remedied by creating parallel paths. A new path possibly composed of a material more resilient than asphalt . . . for jogging and running. . .”
Unfortunately, the 1983 Master Plan sat dormant until a new group, formed in 1986, called “Forest Park Forever” (FPF) emerged. The talents of Bruce Kelley / David Varnell, landscape architects from New York were enlisted to revisit and update the 1983 Master Plan. Kelley/Varnell submitted, in September 1993, a study entitled The Master Plan for the Rehabilitation of Forest Park for Forest Park Forever. They confirmed the findings of the prior study as to the need for a dual path. They reported:
“. . . there is virtually no pedestrian circulation system in the park; pedestrians wander undirected through the landscape. The existing bicycle path is well used but not comprehensive
. . . .In general, the Plan will seek to incorporate a dual path system, with parallel hard and soft surface paths.
. . . . The Dual Path System’s soft surface component is meant to accommodate lower velocity fitness users. The soft surface is primarily meant for use by walkers, joggers, par course exercise station users, and people watchers. Generally, higher velocity and physically intense recreational activities will be restricted to the hard surface component of the Dual Path System. This soft surface pathway may split from the hard surface path in restrictive topographical areas in the park. However, the intervals of separation are brief and provide park enthusiasts with another park experience.”
After extensive review, a revised Forest Park Master Plan, Saint Louis (MP) was delivered on December 5, 1995 and, with revision, subsequently adopted by the CDA. On July 18, 1997, the City entered into a funding agreement with FPF that would authorize FPF to raise and make funds available to the City for the implementation of the Forest Park Master Plan. Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis had began to “Restore the Glory” of Forest Park.
The needs of the park were estimated in 1997 to be $86,000,000 and the City and FPF achieved that goal before the 100th anniversary celebration of the 1904 World’s Fair. For the dual path in particular, the AT&T Foundation (as it is known today) made an initial gift of $50,000 in 1998. However, additional funding was needed in order to complete all the projects. The dual path was no different.
The first segment of the dual path selected for construction was from the Steinberg Rink northward to Union Blvd. David Mason and Associates prepared the plans for this area and suggested a new product for the ”soft” surface. To evaluate it, a test section was chosen along Clayton Rd. east of Faulkner Dr. The Bernoudy Foundation, in the spring of 1999, generously provided their first of many dual path gifts necessary to make it a reality. Once passing this hurdle, this new product was employed for the first segment, beginning in 2001, from Steinberg to Union. Also around this time, the name of the path took on a new flavor: it became known as the WHEELS and HEELS dual recreational path system.
In March of 2002, the City transferred to FPF the direct management of the construction of projects financed with private donation within Forest Park, including the dual path. Under the design guidance of URS Corp., the cost of the initial “soft” surface was a concern. It was finally recommended that a fine limestone aggregate be utilized instead for this surface. The next portion of the dual path slated for construction occurred in the summer of 2003 and was rather extensive. It ran nearly half the way around the park, heading east from Union Blvd. to Skinker Blvd., then south along Skinker Blvd. to Wells Dr. and then east to Tamm Ave. A significant portion of the WHEELS path used the existing bicycle path while the HEELS path was completely new. The steeper portions of the HEELS path received a light asphalt treatment for stability. The two paths were separated throughout most of their lengths.
To prepare for the anticipated construction in summer of 2003, additional funds needed to be raised. The Bernoudy Foundation, in 2001, again stepped forward with a pledge of $1,000,000 toward the dual path. This nearly three mile long segment was completed in the fall of 2004.
The impending reconstruction of I-64 along the southern flank of Forest Park curtailed any further dual path construction at this time. The remaining three portions needed to wait until the completion of this highway work. The wait would be worth it since the park would receive a new pedestrian underpass at Hampton Ave. for the dual path and a pedestrian tunnel under I-64 opposite the Science Center.
As the work on I-64 was winding down, the work on the dual path resumed. The segment along the Zoo parking began in the summer of 2009 as part of the Zoo’s South Entry Project.
The pause in construction allowed Forest Park Forever to seek additional contributions to see a successful completion of the dual path. Significant contributions made in 2009 and 2010 totaling $3,000,000 from Mary Ann Lee and The Crawford Taylor Foundation financed both the construction and future maintenance of final segments connecting the dual path loop around Forest Park.
The construction work on the final segments of the path from Tamm Ave. to Hampton Ave., east to the Science Center and then north to Steinberg Rink were completed spring of 2011. The nearly $4,000,000, 5.6 mile long circumferential dual path system is now complete and open for all.
Twenty-eight years have passed since the first mention in the 1983 Master Plan and the dual path we enjoy today.
The park is ever evolving and the task is not finished. As the predecessors experienced, construction is only half of the task. Maintaining the dual path, one of the jewels of the park, takes a long term commitment. Gifts made to the Henry S. Stolar Wheels and Heels Path Maintenance Fund are always welcome.
The keepers of Forest Park have preserved the “Park” and tended to its needs. As the needs changed, the keepers have made necessary revisions. The paths of Forest Park have evolved from walkers, to bicycles to horses, back to bicycles and walkers, and now for everyone on either “Wheels” or “Heels”.
As we cut the ribbon today we officially dedicate the Dual Path Loop to the patrons of Forest Park, knowing that the vision of its creators will again be realized. In the words of the Presiding Judge of St. Louis County at the opening of Forest in Park in 1876:
“I present to you, the people of . . . St. Louis, your own, this large and beautiful Forest Park for the enjoyment of yourselves, your children, and your children’s children forever . “
– Chauncy F. Shultz, June 24, 1876.
Written by: Richard Johnson & Henry Stolar - 2011Share News about Forest Park and Learn More!
Three Days of Celebrations Planned for 25th Anniversary of Forest Park Forever
ST. LOUIS – (June 16, 2011) Forest Park Forever will celebrate 25 years of restoring, maintaining and
sustaining Forest Park for the enjoyment of its visitors with anniversary events held on the park grounds
beginning Friday, June 24, and culminating on Sunday, June 26.
Mayor Francis G. Slay will formally proclaim June 24, 2011, as Forest Park Forever Day in the City of St.
Louis, while the governor’s office will declare the same in the State of Missouri.
Since 1986, Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis have together invested in the preservation of
Forest Park, which has been characterized as one of America’s great, urban public parks since 1876.
“Every day more of our friends and neighbors enjoy the beauty and incredible sights of Forest Park,”
said Lesley Hoffarth, President and Executive Director, Forest Park Forever. “This year, we honor and
recognize 25 years of hard work and the dedication of Forest Park Forever volunteers and staff, both
past and present, who have made the park what it is today.”
Forest Park Forever in partnership with the City of St. Louis, and in collaboration with thousands of
citizens, helped to restore the glory of Forest Park. Now in its 25th year, the organization is recommitting
to the ongoing maintenance for the future of Forest Park.
The Master Plan. In 1995, the City of St. Louis adopted a master plan for Forest Park that would
conserve its size, beauty and quality while satisfying the needs of its users. A public/private partnership
was then formed. Forest Park Forever and the city embarked on an effort to raise $100 million in public
and private funds for sweeping improvements to the park’s infrastructure, environment, landscapes,
athletic facilities and historic buildings. This first phase of improvements was largely completed in 2003,
and the success of the public/private restoration of Forest Park became a national model for urban park
Sustainability. In 2009, a new Forest Park Forever strategic plan was adopted to guide the park in the
post-restoration era. The plan spelled out five key goals, all focused on using resources to support
sustainability and park preservation:
1. Prioritizing the visitor’s experience.
2. Clarifying and expanding the role of Forest Park Forever to sustain and maintain the park at the
highest standards of excellence.
3. Seeking financial stability and sustainability for the park.
4. Attracting quality leadership.
5. Building community awareness and support for sustaining Forest Park at its current level of
Visitor Services. After an extensive renovation in November 2003, the historic Lindell Railway Pavilion
reopened as the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center, the first such facility in the park’s
history. Managed by Forest Park Forever and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, the
Visitor Center has quickly become a hub for multi-generational activities. Naturalist Programs have
attracted those wanting to know more about the flora and fauna. Volunteer-led walking tours offer
active recreation coupled with park history and folklore, as well as self-guided audio tours.
Schedule of Forest Park Forever 25th Anniversary Events
Friday, June 24 | 11:30 a.m.
A public ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Friday at the Visitor Center to officially announce the
completion of the “Wheels and Heels” Dual Path Loop. Mayor Slay will attend the event and publicly
present the official “Forest Park Forever Day” proclamation. The double capacity of the dual path system
creates a complete circuit of hard and soft paths that is safer and more accommodating to “heels”
and “wheels,” according to Hoffarth. The softer, gravel surface is perfect for walkers and joggers, while
biking and skating can take place on the harder, paved surface. Attendees present at Friday’s ribbon-
cutting will receive a commemorative 25th anniversary token from Forest Park Forever while supplies
last. (Attendees should plan to arrive by 11:15 a.m. for a short walk to the site).
Saturday, June 25 | 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Park-goers can beat the heat on Saturday during the North Star Ice Cream Social at the Visitor Center,
where they can chill out with cones, cool tunes and live entertainment. In addition to North Star frozen
treats, the celebration will feature music by St. Louis’ own “Satin” from Fabulous Motown Revue, The
Greer’s Bluegrass Band, and jazz saxophonist Rod Tate. Mascots from the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis
Rams will join in the fun in addition to face painters and balloon artists. This family-friendly celebration
is open to the public and free to all. Ice cream treats are free as well while supplies last.
Sunday, June 26 | 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
Celebrations will come to a close on Sunday with the “I Love Forest Park” 5K. The run/walk and half-mile
youth fun run will wind through the eastern end of Forest Park, starting and finishing at the Upper Muny
parking lot. Proceeds from the 5K will benefit the maintenance of Forest Park, and all paid participants
will receive an “I Love Forest Park” t-shirt.
During our three-day celebration, Forest Park Forever will offer a Special Membership Promotion and
members-only raffle from June 24-26. Guests can buy one new or renewing membership and get a free
gift membership of the same value. Additionally, all members, renewing and new, can sign up for a
chance to win an Ultimate Forest Park Membership Basket which includes memberships to the Saint
Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center, The Missouri History Museum and Saint Louis Art Museum.
25th Anniversary sponsors include, North Star, Contemporary Productions, Fleishman-Hillard, Catering
St. Louis, Chase Park Plaza, Turec Advertising Associates, St. Louis Track Club, Casa Gallardo, and
our partners at the City of St. Louis Parks, Recreation and Forestry. Forest Park welcomes more
than 12 million visitors a year, and is home to four major cultural institutions as well as numerous
affordable recreation and entertainment opportunities. For additional information, please visit
About Forest Park Forever
In 1986, Forest Park Forever, a private, not-for-profit organization, was founded to work in partnership
with the City of St. Louis and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to restore, maintain and
sustain Forest Park as one of America’s great urban public parks for the enjoyment of all – now and
forever. Learn more at www.forestparkforever.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
TRAFFIC RELIEF PLAN AND METRO FOREST PARK TROLLEY
Forest Park Forever, Park attractions, the City of St. Louis, Metro, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) announced a new traffic relief route and a Metro Forest Park Trolley service to help manage vehicle traffic in the park on busy days.
The new traffic routing system and Metro Forest Park Trolley service will be implemented on April 1 and aims to alleviate the extreme congestion at the Hampton/I-64 exit and inside the park on warm days and during major Forest Park events.
Traffic Relief Plan Map and Trolley Route.
Full press release on the announcement.
New Forest Park iPhone App
Explore Forest Park in a whole new way with this incredible Forest Park app, now available at the iTunes App Store.
Created by Paradigm New Media Group, 20% of all proceeds from this app will benefit Forest Park Forever.
This app will help you navigate the park via streets and paths, locate and learn about park attractions, and find a place to eat or rest.
So, if you are heading out to LouFest, The Great Forest Park Balloon Race or Twilight Tuesdays, this app will help you find your way.
New updates will be applied on a regular basis, so download your Forest Park App for your iPhone or iPad and start exploring Forest Park today!
|Current press regarding the Dual Path in Forest Park
7/29 Ask Heidi with Lucie
Forest Park Dual Path System to Provide
Complete Loop Around Park
Mary Ann Lee and The Crawford Taylor Foundation Make Path System Possible with Generous Donation
|Nathan Cabot presents Danielle Lee (top right photo) and 10 other instructors with specialized hiking sticks on behalf of the Hermann Werks, Inc. of Hermann, Missouri.
The instructors are with the 2010 Forest Park Summer Youth Experience, a program of experiential education and outdoor activities for 7 to 12 year old urban youth in Forest Park and other open spaces.
|Forest Park Forever recently sent out our June 2010 eNewsletter. Click Here to view the eNewsletter and see some of the wonderful things happening in the Park!
|Forest Park was recently one of many great attractions in St. Louis highlighted in the New York Times. Read Full Article.||
|Forest Park Forever was recently highlighted by Southwest Airlines Blogger, Ana Schwager, in her June 11th blog, “Supporting the Crown Jewel of St. Louis-Forest Park”.|
|Many thanks to Jean and Michael Roberts, founders of Atlas Restaurant, and future owners Diane and Bryan Carr for hosting such a wonderful open house on Sunday, June 6th to benefit Forest Park Forever. In addition to the donated food and wine, Forest Park Forever received $2,665 in donations from more than 106 people. This generous support helps us continue our mission to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park – now and forever!
We’d like to thank Atlas Restaurant, Pomme Restaurants as well as our friends at Major Brands, Appellations, Missouri Beverage Company, Glazer’s Midwest and Classique Wines for their support for this fun event.
|A Little Fun In the Park.
Forest Park was a very busy place over the weekend. There was the Summer Zoo Weekend, about 10,000 members of the Boy Scouts and 3,000-4,000 folks watching Bill Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”…Did they all get along?