March 16, 2016

‘That national park in our backyard’ topic of Williamson Library talk

A Vanderbilt alumnus who has provided strong leadership for the support and protection of the Natchez Trace Parkway will speak at the Williamson County Public Library March 22.

The entrance to the Natchez Trace Parkway, a national scenic trail.

Tony Turnbow, a past president of the Natchez Trace Parkway Association, will discuss the importance of the Natchez Trace to our quality of life at the Williamson County Public Library (Main Library) on March 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Turnbow, a Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science graduate who majored in history, will address “Celebrating 100 Years of National Parks: One in Our Backyard – the Natchez Trace Parkway.”

The Franklin, Tennessee, attorney has been active with the Natchez Trace Parkway Association for a third of the parkway’s history. He is the author of a photo history book for the association called Building the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Turnbow noted that C. Wright Pinson, deputy vice chancellor for health affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, recently spoke to the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce about the importance of activities such as outdoor exercise in preventing disease and lowering health care costs.

“New medical research described in the January issue of National Geographic demonstrates the additional and unique benefits people gain from exercising when surrounded by nature, such as national park trails,” Turnbow said. “The Natchez Trace Parkway Association is developing partnerships with volunteer groups, universities and businesses along the parkway to develop ‘Trail Fit,’ a program to encourage people to take advantage of the hiking and cycling opportunities in the national park in their back yard. We are also reaching out to the younger generation’s energy and bright minds to help develop strategies and gain hands-on experience in improving the health of our communities.”

Turnbow will talk about strategies that the parkway association is developing for completing and maintaining the 694-mile Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail that Congress authorized in 1983. “The trail will run through 21 counties,” he said. “It is one of the few places in the region where people who do not own large tracts of land can exercise surrounded by nature over long distances.”

Turnbow’s talk is part of “Vanderbilt at the Library,” in which the university’s professors share their expertise monthly with the public on a wide range of research projects in the Main Library’s Community Room.

For more information, email Lynn Maddox.