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.


Reflection Riding Holds Spring Native Plant Sale This Weekend

Reflection Riding is holding its Spring Native Plant Sale selling the region's best selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials.  Here is the schedule: Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale and Earth Day Festival.  Native plants, grown for a variety of garden conditions, are beautiful, sustainable, and contribute ... (click for more)

TWRA Congratulates Tennessee Wildlife Federation On Award

A strong advocate for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been honored with a prestigious national award. The Federation has been named the 2018 Affiliate of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation in recognition of its outstanding achievement in promoting conservation of wildlife and natural resources on the state and national level. ... (click for more)

TBI Puts Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House On Its "10 Most Wanted" List

A man who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning is still on the loose and has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. He was identified as Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill., was arrested last year when he was in a restricted area at the White House in Washington, D.C. Reinking ... (click for more)

Dayton Teen Arrested After Running From Deputies On Highway 60; Passenger Caught With Drugs

Hamilton County Sheriff deputies caught up with a Dayton teen who drove off at a high rate of speed on Highway 60 on Sunday afternoon. A passenger in the vehicle was caught with drugs. At approximately  5 p.m. , deputies observed a white Chrysler 200 traveling south in the 7800 block of Highway 60 at a high rate of speed. The driver was improperly passing other vehicles ... (click for more)

Teachers Have Good Compensation Compared To Other Taxpayers - And Response

Hamilton County experienced a property tax increase of about 10.7 percent in 2017. By law the reappraisal of property shall not increase tax revenue. So after the reappraisal the state certified millage rate for Hamilton County was 2.4976 per hundred dollars assessed value. The county commission voted to raise the millage rate to 2.7652 per hundred. That's about a 10.7 percent increase ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)