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Nashville's Most Pristine Parks

Nashville's Most Pristine Parks

🏞️ The city's most untouched parks · Metro's budget · Blasting zone ahead · Book review · Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

In the early days of the Pamphleteer, we released a series of articles about the Nashville park system—similar in ways to our current series on the Nashville Fairways.

I dug up this look at Nashville's most "pristine" parks from William Harwood for today because it mentions a couple of places you're likely unaware of. With a nice weekend ahead, could be a good chance to explore some of these spots.


The trees encountered on a country stroll
Reveal a lot about a country’s soul.

W.H. Auden

Disquieting news, y’all – a bunch of ash holes have moved in along Nashville’s most famous stretch of trail, Tornado Ridge in Percy Warner Park. Among the intermittent blazes of red, marking the route for runners and hikers and walkers of woofies in woods, are all but ubiquitous blotches of blue, marking the trees – all of them ashes – marked for death. Distinctive, D-shaped holes, each the perfect size to sheath a pencil’s eraser, encase the culprits: emerald ash borers, invasive beetles native to northeastern Asia. Having only shown up in Metro Nashville in 2014, they are now expected within the next few years to reduce our county’s canopy by 10% single-handedly – or six-leggedly as the case may be. Ugh.

But blaming the bugs, of course, is a copout. We’re all smart enough to know who the true ash holes of this story are. To paraphrase the great philosopher Pogo, when it comes to ultimate responsibility for the deep environmental, economic, and aesthetic damage inflicted upon our woods and wilds by the introduction of invasive species, we have met the ash holes and they are us.

From English ivy to Chinese privet, from Japanese stiltgrass to Tree of heaven, from Bush honeysuckle to those big, brittle pieces of living dung called Bradford pears, people – and generally in complete ignorance but at times in active complicity – have done the invasives’ work for them, serving as their vectors in much the same way that northward advancing armadillos crossing roads – or not – can serve as leprosy’s vectors.

Full disclosure: During the mid-80s while working as a high school landscaper, I planted scores of Bradford pears in close proximity to Radnor and Warner parks for $3.35 an hour, money I mostly used to buy beer with my fake ID. I am sincerely sorry.

But must all things invasive be bad? After all, invasive procedures can sometimes save lives and honeysuckle smells good on a hot, summer day. Perhaps a bit of etymology can elucidate. The word ‘invasive’ comes to us via Old French invasif by way of Medieval Latin’s invasivus. While the connotation of the term means clearly to attack – and presumably to conquer as well – the denotation simply means an ‘in-walking,’ in + vadere.

In other words, in its etymological essence, invasiveness isn’t by definition pejorative and invasive experiences aren’t limited to such unpleasantries as charging Nazi tanks, extending ranges of ticks, intrusions of soul-sucking thoughts or sights or sounds, or to any other kind of Faulknerian corn cob moment. Invasive is a double-edged word, cutting both ways, negative and positive, and sometimes an ‘in-walking’ can be just what the doctor ordered.

To best capture the spirit of an ‘in-walking,’ we must do so in the most pristine, unviolated places possible. With that in mind, here are Nashville’s most pristine places to in vadere.

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💰 What We’re Spending Money On Budget and Finance Committee Chair Delishia Porterfield seems to be an ally of the Nashville People’s Budget Coalition. Yesterday, Porterfield took to social media to share the substitute budget carve-outs negotiated in accordance with their demands.  

One of these changes would raise the mayor’s 3.5 percent COLA recommendation to 4 percent—a compromise down from the coalition’s request for a 5 percent increase.

Haggling over cost-of-living adjustments for Metro employees has always been a sticking point during budget season. Last year, Councilmember Courtney Johnston attempted to remedy this with a bill that would have made the adjustment automatic based on data consistent with the Consumer Price Index for urban areas. The council vehemently shot it down, and Johnston had this to say: “Civil service commission makes a recommendation, the administration does what they want to, and then we amend it however we want to and a lot of times it’s completely arbitrary. It’s not based [on] anything except for, apparently, wild emotion.”

Porterfield also highlighted that O’Connell’s budget has been substituted to include $1 million for the Varsity Spending Plan, $30 million for the Barnes Fund, $400,000 for an Arts Equity Study, and more than $1 million for indigent defense. She also mentioned she’d look into finding $130,000 for masks to be provided in public buildings in the future, per the coalition’s request.

These adjustments will go before the council next Tuesday, when they cast their final vote on this year’s budget. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

✰   ✰   ✰

💥 Blasting Zone Ahead “I have a blasting question.” I couldn’t help myself during Monday’s East Bank Subdistrict Information Session, “I just want to know if things are going to blow up over there.”

The meeting included a brief explanation of stormwater mitigation and limited ground-level parking for the 30-acre area that The Fallon Company will be developing around the new stadium. The prospect of underground construction piqued my interest: like many Nashvillians, I want to know how much KABOOM I’ll be dealing with over the next decade. Here’s the answer I got from Ben York, the program manager for Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure. “Structurally, you get to a point of diminishing returns when you start blasting into flood-prone areas,” he said. “In the code revision that they're doing, they do have a provision for some parking below grade, with the majority of parking above grade and wrapped in a way that it's secured for efficiency but that's the general premise so you get a diminishing return.”

When asked whether the stormwater reserves will be underground, York explained that some will be above ground, with a few on rooftops. “There will be LID components in every building in the area, Low Impact Development,” he said. “That’s the requirement to reduce… man's impact on [stormwater runoff], and so that's part of the development pattern and what Metro Water will require.”

The council will review the zoning code for the development this summer, which could take anywhere from 10 to 15 years of construction to complete. Included in this small slice of Metro’s 100-acre Imagine East Bank vision will be the new TPAC event venue, a smattering of residential and commercial buildings, green ways, and an extension of the pedestrian bridge leading to the new stadium. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


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Off the Cuff


Over the past four decades, journalist Sebastian Junger has routinely cheated death in warzones and fiefdoms in Afghanistan and Nigeria. His documentary collaborator, Tim Hetherington, died from a shrapnel wound while on assignment in Libya. Curiously, the author of grizzled “men at work” chronicles like The Perfect Storm almost met his maker on vacation during the summer of COVID at a bucolic Massachusetts cabin from a rare pancreatic aneurysm. 

Before that day, Junger never really gave eternal life much thought. His father was a lauded physicist who often brushed up against his mother’s New Age ways. So it came as quite the surprise that Junger’s only tangible memory during his time in the ICU was his father hovering over his bed talking about the steps one takes after their time on this mortal coil. 

As he did for capsized fishing boats and PTSD-laden veterans, Junger put his journalistic skills to work upon his recovery for his latest book, In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife. Part midlife memoir, part enthralling physics tome, it’s an impressive mix of faith, science, and reason that charts the marvels of the universe and a place in it we have all attained against all logical odds. 

One of the last few journalists left who still believes in the vocation’s founding pillar of objectivity, Junger never makes a case for the afterlife or God; he merely lays out the facts. At times, he seems guilty to focus so much on himself–especially when he’s devoted so much of his career to soldiers and salt of the earthers. “The extra years that had been returned to me were too terrifying to be beautiful and too precious to be ordinary,” he writes about the burden of privilege to keep clocking in at the Vanity Fair office after his latest time cheating death. 

Yet, In My Time of Dying is not a conversion narrative. In fact, its entire purpose is to integrate strains of religious thought into the particulars of a vast and unknowable nature. In his interviews with multiple theoretical physicists, Junger comes to the conclusion that anything is possible–a more evidence-based illustration of an offhand remark his wife made to him during his recovery: “I have zero disbelief.” Ever the journalist, Junger plans to keep looking for meaning. And we are all the better for it. JEROD HOLLYFIELD



View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.


🪕 The Del McCoury Band @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $38+, Info

🎸 Bonaroo @ Bonaroo Farm, $435+, Info
+ Pretty Lights, Fisher, Gwar and more

🎸 Interpol @ The Blue Room, 7p, $107.41, Info

🎸 Live Jazz: Parker James, Paul DeFiglia & Anson Hohne @ Vinyl Tap, 7p, Free, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

🎸 Open Mic @ Fox & Locke, 6:30p, Free, Info
+ vet community here