Overton Park, Memphis
Location: Poplar Ave. & Veterans Plaza Drive, Memphis, Tennessee (MAP)
Contact Info: Park Friends Inc. http://www.parkfriends.net/
Date Visited: 12-18-2008
I stopped to visit the arboretum one cool December morning while passing through Memphis, TN. I was excited to visit this particular park because of the giant ex-National Champion Shumard Oak that is along the Old Forest Trail.
To say that I was not happy with my visit to Overton Park is understatement. I hope that the park has since improved. I ventured into the park alone without properly researching it, only to later find out that it is a known location for male prostitution. As I entered the park I observed a suspicious man waiting in his truck in the parking lot. Failing to heed my intuition, I continued into the park and was approached by him on the trail. After a brief verbal exchange he realized that I was not there for the same reason he was. No conflict took place, only an extremely uncomfortable moment that reminded me to use better caution when going to parks alone.
Sign at Parking Lot
Further exploration of Overton Park will have to wait until another day. From what I observed the park is poorly maintained, the tree identification markers are inadequate, and safety is a consideration.