Land Trust Partners With TWRA To Add Acreage To Hiwasse Wildlife Refuge

Site Of Sandhill Crane Migration, Trail Of Tears

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Land Trust for Tennessee and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have successfully partnered to purchase 68 acres of wildlife habitat located along Blythe Ferry Road near the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers. This acreage is now part of the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Meigs County thanks to the support of individuals, foundations and the community.  

This peaceful stretch of tall grasses was slated for a high density residential development with a wastewater treatment facility.  That project fell through, and the Land Trust for Tennessee spent the last two years in negotiations to protect this property from other incompatible development proposals.  This acreage increases the physical size of the Refuge, enhances public enjoyment of historical and scenic land that is rich in wildlife population, and adds value for our state’s tourism and recreation, officials said.

This piece of land and other properties along the Hiwassee River corridor, one of the Land Trust’s high priority conservation areas, are a part of the Sandhill Crane’s natural migration pattern.  Over 14,000 of the birds descend on the Refuge for two to three months each winter.  In addition to the annual Sandhill Crane Festival held every year at the Refuge, Blythe Ferry itself was a site for Cherokee camps and a major departure point for the Trail of Tears.  Proposed development would have threatened the home to wildlife special to this region, and would have ruined the historic context for visitors to experience the Old Wagon Road leading to the ferry and to the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park that adjoins these 68 acres, officials said.

Through a federal wildlife habitat grant, TWRA committed $250,000 toward the project, and the Land Trust for Tennessee raised the remaining private funds necessary to purchase this land for public use. Generous support poured in from foundations and wildlife enthusiasts across Tennessee and beyond, including a large gift made by an anonymous donor through the International Crane Foundation.  “Thanks to this anonymous donor's dedication to Sandhill Cranes and their habitats, we are thrilled to be able to help secure land that provides critical buffers for Sandhills and many other species along the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee," International Crane Foundation’s President and CEO Rich Beilfuss said. 

After reading an article about the Blythe Ferry Project in Tennessee Wildlife magazine earlier this fall, Bill and Judy Tindall led the pack with a leadership gift. "Having lived on flyways in NY and MN we both grew up with an interest in migratory waterfowl,” Mr. Tindall explained. “For many years we raised and released wood ducks, as well as maintained wood duck nesting boxes in northeast Tennessee. At one time we maintained a flock of various North American waterfowl on our pond.  We are pleased to be able to contribute to the Refuge for the benefit of migratory birds.” 

The Land Trust is appreciative of the many donors who made this addition to the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge possible including the visionary support of the Farrow Family Foundation, Lyndhurst Foundation, Riverview Foundation, SunTrust Foundation, Bill and Judy Tindall, Carlene and Greg Vital, and Libby and Frank Duff. 

The Land Trust for Tennessee and TWRA will celebrate and dedicate the 68-acre addition during the upcoming Sandhill Crane Festival on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.

The Land Trust is a private, nonprofit organization that has worked with willing landowners, the State of Tennessee, communities and various like-minded partners to protect more than 84,000 acres in 53 counties across the state since its founding 12 years ago. To learn more about this project or the benefits of voluntary conservation, contact one of these local offices at  615.244-5263 (Nashville) or  305-1783 (Chattanooga) or visit the website at www.landtrusttn.org.

Land Trust For Tennessee And Mountain Goat Trail Alliance Host Sneak-Peek Hike

The Land Trust for Tennessee and the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance are co-hosting  a summer hike to give locals a sneak peek of a soon-to-be protected property that adds 20 miles to the Mountain Goat Trail (MGT) project.  The hike will also celebrate the enhancement of local outdoor recreation, the conservation of our natural wonders and the way of life on the ... (click for more)

Crabtree Farms Offers Fall Gardening Workshop

In response to a growing interest in fall backyard gardening, local non-profit, Crabtree Farms is offering educational opportunities and affordable, healthy plant starts to help Chattanoogans grow their own food this fall.   “While most people are excited to plant their gardens in spring or summer, there is a growing number of people who realize that they can enjoy ... (click for more)

EPB Files With FCC To Expand TV, Phone, Internet Offerings Outside Electric Service Area

 EPB announced Thursday that it has filed a petition to the FCC "in an effort to respond to neighboring communities’ requests for access to the company’s gigabit enabled high-speed Internet service." Officials said, "EPB offers high-speed Internet access, video programming and voice services using a fiber optic communications network that allows the company to deliver these ... (click for more)

Black Creek Developers Say They "Followed The Rules" On $9 Million TIF: To Continue Project

The developers of the Black Creek project at Aetna Mountain said Thursday they "complied precisely by the rules when we applied for and received approval of the TIF district." Doug Stein said the group plans to continue on with the project, which he said earlier would include the creation of a small town on a huge undeveloped tract on the mountain above Black Creek (formerly ... (click for more)

Pickle Ball? - And Response

Collegedale has done some wonderful things for its residents.  The Greenway is a perfect example of money well spent on helping to give her residents the opportunity to improve their lives, at least from a health standpoint. Having taught at Wolftever Creek for a decade plus, I was fortunate to have opportunity to take my classes on walks from time to time.  It provided ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The NCAA’s “Division IV”

Jonathan Jensen and Brian Turner are two very smart guys. Not long ago the two sports researchers at Ohio State authored a story that appeared in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports that focused on the most successful college football teams in the country and, earlier this week, a writer named Ben Cohen broke it down in understandable terms for a fascinating Wall Street ... (click for more)