Tennessee River Gorge Trust Announces New Executive Director

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Rick Huffines
Rick Huffines

Tennessee River Gorge Trust, a Chattanooga-based nonprofit conservation organization which protects more than 17,500 acres in the Tennessee River Gorge, announced that it has hired Rick Huffines, 50, as its new executive director.  Mr. Huffines succeeds Jim Brown, who is retiring after having led the organization successfully for the last 18 years. 

Mr. Huffines currently serves as the Deputy Regional Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Atlanta, Georgia.  He will be joining the Tennessee River Gorge Trust on Jan. 7, 2013 after retiring from a 26-year career of public service where he has worked throughout the Southeast in five different states in various capacities.   

Daniel Carter, chairman of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust Board of Directors said, “Rick Huffines is the ideal candidate to lead the Trust into the future while building on the solid foundation that Jim Brown and his team have built during the last several decades.  Rick is a seasoned leader who has extensive scientific and land management experience.  He has worked on numerous complex national conservation initiatives which required a determination for collaboration.  Rick will be a great asset to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust and to the conservation community at-large.”

Mr. Huffines spent his youth in Old Hickory, Tn., roaming the banks of the Cumberland River where he was inspired at a young age to follow his passion for conservation.  He attended Middle Tennessee State University and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant and Soil Science with an emphasis on Wildlife Management. 

He has been married to his wife, Judy, for 23 years. Ms. Huffines is also an alumna of Middle Tennessee State University and works for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Program Analyst.  She is originally from Beech Grove, Tn.  They have a 20-year old son, Gus, who is a sophomore at the University of Georgia studying Biological Engineering.  Gus is an accomplished violinist and has been playing for over 14 years.  The family enjoys spending time with their extended families in Tennessee and participating in a myriad of outdoor activities – hiking, outdoor photography, camping, hunting and fishing.

The Huffineses are very excited about this new opportunity, as well as their upcoming move to Chattanooga. Mr. Huffines said, “When I was 16 years old I was inspired by Ron Raines, a Tennessee Conservationist who taught me I could do something I loved for a career and mentored me in that process.  I educated myself and launched into a 26-year career that has taken me on special assignments to Alaska, Cuba, the Caribbean and all over the Southeast.  On my journey I have captured American crocodiles in Florida, participated in scientific expeditions on uninhabited Islands in the Caribbean, apprehended and prosecuted wildlife poachers across the South, researched some of the rarest birds on earth and worked with some of the brightest and finest people in the process.  I could not have imagined these kinds of things as a young Tennessean and it is for this reason I want to give back to my State and bring my experience and collaborative spirit to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust.  In the process, I also hope to inspire other young Tennessee conservationists in the same way I was inspired, to carry this important work forward into the future.

“I am honored to have been selected to follow behind another great Tennessee conservationist, Jim Brown, who has served the Tennessee River Gorge Trust and the community of Chattanooga as a founder and leader of the organization for three decades.  I am looking forward to carrying on the legacy that has been established by Jim and the Trust.  I want to start by listening to what the Trust supporters, volunteers, the community, and the Board of Directors have to say about the future.  I also look forward to discussing ideas with my new colleague, Sarah Quattrochi, and meeting with other conservationist and community leaders in the area.”


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)

East Ridge Council Rejects Bids For Road Work For Bass Pro Shop Development; All Are Above $3 Million

The Bass Pro Shop development at East Ridge has hit another snag as all bids for road projects at Exit 1 and Camp Jordan Parkway came in above the $3 million estimate.   On Thursday night, Mayor Brent Lambert said the city had pledged to build a “fairly vanilla road,” and made a motion to reject all the bids. He said that the street should be “value engineered” because ... (click for more)

Life Care Asks Judge Not To Make Its Leader, Forrest Preston, A Defendant In "False Claims" Action

Attorneys for Life Care Centers of America are asking in a 20-page motion that its founder and still leader, Forrest Preston, not be made a defendant in a False Claims Act lawsuit in Federal Court. The motion says the government "seeks to change the nature and scope of this case seven years after the government began investigating the facts and documents" in the case. Judge ... (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: Quaker Oats & Stuff

Some genius in the Quaker Oats marketing department came up with a novel idea last summer with the theme: “What if you had the chance to do something you have always wanted to do … but you had to start today?” Somehow Michael Hope and his family – that includes three children – got to be interviewed and, when his 10-year-old daughter Lauren was asked, she said she always wanted ... (click for more)