Today marks week two of our Middle Tennessee Parks blog series! This week we’re featuring a state park located right here in Nashville: Radnor Lake State Park.
Radnor Lake encompasses 85 acres and was impounded in 1914 by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company to furnish water for steam engines and livestock at nearby Radnor Yards. It was, at that time, intended that the site would provide a location for private hunting and a fishing preserve for L & N officials and their guests. However, soon after construction of the lake, flocks of birds discovered it and began to feed and rest in the area during their annual migration. Because of this, in 1923, the executive vice-president of L & N ceased all hunting in the area and declared the area a wildlife sanctuary–at the request of the Tennessee Ornithological Society.
Fast forward a few decades, and in 1962, the area was purchased by a construction company with plans to transform it into a housing development. Strong public reaction and sentiment kept it preserved as a park, and in 1973, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, with support from the Federal Government and thousands of passionate citizens, purchased the Radnor site as the first official state natural area.
Radnor Lake State Park provides a variety of scenic areas and a diversity of natural habitats. It even has some of the highest hills in the Nashville Basin. Wildlife is amazingly abundant, with sightings ranging from geese, to
herons, to snakes, to turtles and many, many, many more! Hundreds of species of wildflowers, mosses, fungi, ferns, and other lesser plants as well as trees, shrubs, and vines add to the natural ecological diversity of the area.
Radnor’s geology is also fascinating and complex. The rocks, which form its hills and valleys, were deposited on the floor of a shallow, tropical, inland sea 500,000,000 years ago!
Radnor Lake State Park is open year-round here in Nashville, however it is a day-use only park. It offers a multitude of hiking trails with differing difficulty levels from easy to strenuous.
For more information about Radnor Lake State Park, visit its website here.