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.

2016 Application Period For Peregrine Falcon Trapping For Falconry Usage Is Underway

The 2016 application period for the trapping of a peregrine falcon to be used in falconry is underway, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced. The TWRA will award this permit to the winner of a draw to be held on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Falconers may go to TWRA’s website under the Hot Topics section and locate the print-ready application and also view the requirements. ... (click for more)

Application Period Deadline Is July 27 For 2016 WMA Big Game Quota Hunts

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is announcing that the application deadline is nearing for the 2016 Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Big Game Quota Hunts, the regular elk, youth elk, and WMA youth hunts. Entries must be submitted before midnight (CDT) on Wednesday, July 27. The WMA hunting instruction sheet lists locations and dates for each of the quota hunts along ... (click for more)

$30 Million Development Planned At King And South Market; Will Include Hotel, Condos, Offices, Retail, Possible Restaurant

A new $30 million development is planned for the Southside at King Street and South Market. Nick Wilkinson, city deputy director for economic development, said it will include a hotel, condos, offices, retail and possibly a restaurant. It could also include some light industry. A storage building and a parking lot are now at the site. He said the developers plan to reuse ... (click for more)

Investor In Scheme Says Dyer Made Contacts At Quarterback Club

One of the investors who was a loser in an investment scheme recently halted by the Securities and Exchange Commission said one of the Chattanooga brokers involved made many of his contacts through the Chattanooga Quarterback Club. Paul Smith, former Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman, said Doug Dyer has been the president for many years of the club that promotes UTC and ... (click for more)

Expand Broadband Internet, Not The Size Of Government

I’d like to respond to two letters in your July 13 edition that praised Rep. Mike Carter’s efforts to expand statewide broadband access. Rep. Carter wants more government involvement in the broadband sector, including an expansion of taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband networks.  Rep. Carter’s supporters argued he’s standing up for consumers against huge telecommunications ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Horses Vs. DesJarlais

It is well-known that shortly after the despicable “Big Lick” faction of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry put on a very-pointed fundraiser for the equally repugnant Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper) two years ago, the misguided doctor has repeatedly tried to bully and strong-arm the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the behalf of the vermin who sadistically torture the ... (click for more)