Tennessee State Parks announced on Thursday, two additions to the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park. The acquisition of the two properties, Soak Creek and the Wendell Wilson Tract on Brady Mountain, connects existing Tennessee State Parks lands and State Natural Areas along a proposed 300-mile route.
The 1,050-acre acquisition of Soak Creek, in Rhea and Bledsoe counties, protects seven miles of high quality streams and provides a lush forest landscape for the construction of ten new miles of the Cumberland Trail. The tract joins Stinging Fork Falls State Natural Area, Piney Falls State Natural Area and Piney River Resource Management Area, all under the management of the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park and the State Scenic Trail.
“These acquisitions are a huge asset for the Cumberland Trail, connecting existing lands and providing a much-needed extension to the trail,” Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said.
The purchase of the Soak Creek property was preceded by a land sale between Colorado-based Resource Land Holdings, Inc. and the Land Trust for Tennessee, a non-profit organization based in Nashville. It was also aided by financial assistance from the Conservation Fund and the Cumberland Trail Conference. Funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the State Land Acquisition Fund and the Barbara J. Mapp Foundation supported the state transaction.
The acquisition of the Wendell Wilson Tract is a critical link on the crest of Brady Mountain in Cumberland County, overlooking the Grassy Cove Karst National Natural landmark. The Wendell Wilson family, descendants of the pioneering families in the region, conveyed a 152-acre tract that serves as the backdrop for the renowned pastoral Grassy Cove basin and reaches to the highest elevation in the region. The acquisition bridges a continuous segment of the Cumberland Trail corridor, starting at nearby Black Mountain.
The Cumberland Trail, conceived in 1965, has 190 miles of open hiking trails and 40 trailhead parking areas from Cumberland Gap National Historic Park to Signal Point, overlooking the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. For more information, visit www.tnstateparks.com/CumberlandTrail or www.cumberlandtrail.org or call 423 566-2229.