Bob Richards developed a passion for nature and trails early in his childhood where the “woods” were at the end of the street six houses away. His passion grew in the Boy Scouts where he earned the 200 miler merit badge. His achievement included hiking 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bob graduated with a B. S. in Forestry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus.
After college Bob joined the State of Tennessee first at Falls Creek Falls State Park, then at Savage Gulf Natural Area. He built 100+ miles of hiking trails, 12 backcountry campsites, three major trailhead areas, and was part of the team acquiring over 6,600 acres of land.
Since then, Bob has worked with local, state and federal agencies, and non-profit groups on greenway and trail design, development, operations, management and maintenance. This includes parks and recreation facilities and natural resource management. His responsibilities included federal Recreational Trails Program oversight, managing state and federal grant programs with development of grant applications, preparing budgets and project scopes, project management and onsite inspections of grant projects. He oversaw $20 million in grant funds awarded, contracts executed, and projects either completed or under way.
Bob is recognized for his creative ideas when developing partnerships in order to find funding for park and trail projects.
Bob is a small business owner doing private garden and tree projects. He is certified as a Master Trail Builder by Trail Design Specialists, Inc., a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), and has been a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). He is an experienced trainer for trail construction and maintenance workshops and develops trail assessment and maintenance plans.
Knowledgeable in the 2013 Final Accessibility Guideline requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Outdoor Developed Areas and Trails, Bob provides guidance and on site assistance for facility compliance.
Bob Richards Wins Bob Brown Lifetime Achievement Award From Tennessee Trails Association
Robert (Bob) Richards of Nashville, who has worked for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as the Tennessee Greenways and Trails coordinator for the past 11 years, was presented Bob Brown lifetime Achievement Award by Tennessee Trails Association at that groups’ annual meeting in fall of 2016.
Richards started with the state of Tennessee in 1974 as a seasonal naturalist at Fall Creek Falls State Park and then started his trail career there in 1975. In 1976, he transferred to Savage Gulf State Natural Area and was the project manager for 85 miles of trails, nine backcountry campsites and the Stone Door and Savage Creek trailheads, including Fiery Gizzard Trail and the Buggytop Trail in South Cumberland State Recreation Area.
His 30-plus years career in trails also includes working with the Friends of Beaman Park in northwest Davidson County where he was a volunteer project manager for a wood trail bridge, two miles of hiking trails and the Federal Highways Administration Recreational Trails Program funded Accessible Trail project that won the 2013 Coalition for Recreational Trails national award for accessible trails.
At the end of 2016, RIchards retired from the state of Tennessee and relocated to Knoxville where he plans to continue trail work in various projects across the state.
Beaman Park Trail Wins National Award
The Friends of Beaman Park recently received a national award from the Coalition for Recreation Trails for the Beaman Park Handicap Accessible and Interpretive Trail at Beaman Park in Davidson County.
The centerpiece of the project at Beaman Park was the construction of a 300 foot long boardwalk which connects to the nature center then loops back on a 300 foot long, barrier free firm surface trail creater a quarter mile loop. The project also includes decks and seating for park visitors to sit and enjoy the quiet wooded setting.
To make the project possible, the Friends of Beaman Park were awarded an $85,000 grant from the Federal Highways Administration RTP program in 2009. The Friends of Beaman Park also received a $20,000 grant from the Memorial Foundation of Hendersonville, which provided the required match for the RTP funds.
Seven trail projects from across the country were chosen as recipients in the 15th Annual Achievement Awards in recognition for the outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds. The awards were presented at a special Capitol Hill ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June, as part of the celebration of Great Outdoors Week 2013. On hand to receive the award were Nancy Dorman, president of the Friends of Beaman Park and Bob Richards, state trails administrator with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
According to LinnAnn Welch, nature center manager at Beaman Park and Bells Bend Park,"This project would never have happened without the hard work and determination of our friends group." The Friends of Beaman Park provided grant administration and served as the volunteer coordinators on the project. "They were committed to providing volunteer labor for as much of the project as possible, further stretching the benefit and value that the project provided to our community," reports Welch. Over the course of the three-year project, volunteers included members of the Nashville Hiking Meetup, the Tennessee Trails Association, Vanderbilt and Belmont University students, the Davidson County Sheriff's Department Inmate Labor Crew, Hands on Nashville, and two Eagle Scout projects.
The Coalition for Recreational Trails is a national organization representing the nation's major trail interests.
Beaman Park is owned and managed by the Metro Nashville Parks Department. The Friends of Beaman Park is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1996.
— from The Tennessee Conservationist, November/December 2013