Ijams Nature Center is closing its popular River Boardwalk for the next two weeks in order to perform regular maintenance and assess long-term repair needs.


The River Boardwalk, located on a scenic stretch of bluffs along the Tennessee River, is in need of some sprucing up, says Amber Parker, Executive Director of Ijams Nature Center.


“Anytime you have a structure that is exposed to year-round weather conditions, you have to take time for general maintenance in order to keep it in good order,” Parker said. “Over the next two weeks, Ijams Nature Center staff will be performing tasks such as replacing a few boards, pressure-washing the entire boardwalk and applying a weatherproofing sealant. This kind of work takes time and requires the boardwalk to be closed so that we can do it safely…and not spray any of our visitors!”


Last weekend, Ijams Nature Center closed the River Boardwalk as a precautionary measure when staff noticed that a rock had shifted near the foundation. After consulting with the original builder during an assessment yesterday, it was determined that the River Boardwalk is structurally sound and safe for passage.


“We also decided that this was a great time to undertake a full cleaning and develop an inventory of long-term plans for maintenance to make sure that the River Boardwalk is the best it can be,” Parker said. “We know how important this feature is to Ijams visitors. Good weather and lower visitation at this time of year makes it the most convenient time to close. If we closed it any later, we would disappoint thousands of children who will visit Ijams on a school field trip this fall.”


Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 300+-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Ijams’ mission is to encourage stewardship of the natural world by providing an urban greenspace for people to learn about and enjoy the outdoors through engaging experiences. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The center offers hundreds of educational programs annually, from school field trips and off-site programs to on-site outdoor and classroom education programs that focus on topics from birding and wildflowers to yoga hikes, cooking classes and art programs. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.