KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As improvements continue at Lakeshore Park, the park is beginning the process of removing invasive plants and turf grasses in the fenced-in area near the river.

This is the first step in replacing mown lawn with a warm-season meadow. The park shared on Facebook that this will provide habitats for insects, birds and other animals in the park while reducing their carbon footprint.

While the work begins, the trail marked in purple will be closed Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26. The closure includes the trail starting above the baseball fields, around the river up to the soccer fields, and the trail leading from the river to the Marble Pavilion.

The rest of the park will remain open.

This is not the park’s only effort to restore natural plants to the area. In 2017, Gardner Monaco Design partnered with the Lakeshore Park Conservatory to transform the River Trail area “into a special landscape experience that highlights our native plant communities.” In Nov. 2021, GMD began planting native plants near the entrance of the boardwalk. Interpretive signs were also placed along the trail explaining the project and the plants in the area.

A multimillion-dollar improvement project is also underway at Lakeshore Park. The project will bring baseball fields, pavilions, a new playground, new parking, drainage infrastructure and more to the park.

A section of the perimeter loop trail closed on Nov. 1, 2022, and will remain closed until spring 2024 as these improvements continue.