Governor Haslam To Dedicate Virgin Falls State Natural Area On Wednesday

Monday, December 09, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam, along with leaders from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation will be officially dedicating the purchase of Virgin Falls State Natural Area this Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Welch’s Point, Bridgestone Firestone Wilderness, Welch Cemetery Road, Sparta.

Through the support of a number of private/public partnerships, the state acquired the land in November 2012. Prior to that, Virgin Falls had been under private ownership, but managed by the state as a natural area for nearly 40 years. Working closely with the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, the state of Tennessee was able to purchase the 1,551-acre parcel near Sparta through a combination of funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and private donations. 

A favorite hiking destination for decades, Virgin Falls features a waterfall that exits a cave at the top of a cliff and then disappears into a second cave at its base. Nature lovers have noted the existence of unique flora and fauna and amateur geologists have explored the composition and structure of its many caves.  

Other officials in attendance will be:

Bob Martineau, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Ed Carter, Executive Director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Mary Jennings, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Department of Interior

Brock Hill, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Kathleen Williams, President and CEO, TN Parks & Greenways Foundation

Dr. Chuck Womack, Chairman of the Board, TN Parks & Greenways Foundation



Three Popular Waterfowl Hunting Areas Have New Regulations

Hunting regulations have been changed on Gooch Unit E, Meeman-Shelby State Park, and White Oak (Lebanon Pond area) Wildlife Management Areas.  The duck hunting on these areas, prior to the change, was on a first come first serve basis. There were not any established hunting sites and hunters could set up anywhere they wanted. This has created an overcrowded issue which ... (click for more)

2014 Waterfowl Blind Permit Drawings Will Be Aug. 2

Tennessee’s long-standing tradition of hand-drawn duck blind drawings will be held at the regular sites across the state on Saturday, Aug. 2. Registration for the 2014 drawings will be held from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. and the drawings will begin at 10 a.m. at most locations. For more information, visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website, www.tnwildlife.org. While ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $7 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Our’ American Minute

William J. Federer is one of the leading historians in the United States and every morning I am among thousands of people who get an entertaining email from him called the “American Minute.” I adore it because Bill takes a significant event in American history that happened long ago – but he remembers on the very anniversary of when it occurred. A great example is that last Thursday ... (click for more)