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.

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Adventure Kids After School Program  Sept. 1 through Nov. 17 The  After School Adventure Kids program   is a great opportunity for kids ages 9-13 to build outdoor skills that will stay with them into adulthood. Adventurers ... (click for more)

Claire Henley: Adventures West (Shakedown On The Appalachian Trail)

(Editor's Note: Chattanoogan Claire Henley started an adventure of a lifetime on the remote Pacific Crest Trail in April. Along the way, she had many adventures and found herself a husband named Big Spoon. Here is her story beginning in March). The last three days, I backpacked from Fontana Dam to Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 40.6-mile stretch ... (click for more)

With Census Rising, Erlanger Scrambling To Find Hospital Beds

With the census climbing at Erlanger Health System, hospital officials are scrambling to find available hospital beds. Rob Brooks, chief operating officer, said 12 rooms were opened up at Erlanger North in Red Bank. He said some of those are utilized for main campus patients who may actually be ready to go home but still have a Medicare-required three-day stay. He said the freed-up ... (click for more)

Brent Pickard Was Man Shot And Killed By Deputies; 4 From Sheriff's Office On Administrative Leave During City Investigation

Brent Pickard, 46, was the man who was shot and killed by county deputies on Wednesday night after a chase ended on Highway 153.. Four Hamilton County deputies were placed on leave, pending the investigation. At Pine Mar, Pickard crashed and shots were fired resulting in his death.  District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Her Heart Will Go On

Tonight’s a big night in Las Vegas, one of the biggest in quite a while. Celine Dion, truly one of the most magnificent singers of our time, will return to the stage of the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace after a year’s absence and, if you dare think you can get a seat, it has been sold out for months. Of course, they say in Vegas you can buy anything, but tonight is one of the toughest ... (click for more)