Land Trust Officials Say Any Johnson's Crook Deal Will Include Preservation Of Most Of 1,800-Acre Tract

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Georgia Land Trust officials said at a town hall meeting at Johnson's Crook in Dade County on Wednesday that their aim is to permanently protect the scenic and historic Lookout Mountain tract.

Royce Cornelison, a contractor who has placed conservation easements on his properties before and is considered the mostly likely buyer, told the group he has the same aim.

Mr. Cornelison, a Sand Mountain resident whose P&C Construction is based in Chattanooga, said if he completes the deal he may build a few homes in the valley section where there are already several cabins. He said the remainder of the property would be preserved with a conservation easement.

Katherine Eddins, land trust executive director, noted that a conservation easement does not have to allow any public access. But she said efforts are being made for an agreement to allow cavers access to several caves on the 1,800-acre property.

She also said there is some discussion of an eventual trail going from Cloudland Canyon State Park to Johnson's Crook. "That is down the road," she said, but she said it is hoped there can be allowances in the easement for a trail near the top of the property.

Officials said, "The Land Trust’s mission is to preserve and protect land for present and future generations, a mission it has been on for the past 20 years. The Land Trust has protected over a quarter of a million acres, primarily with conservation easements. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a land owner and a land trust that permanently protects land from development, surface mining and other practices that would significantly harm the land and its natural areas. Georgia Land Trust holds over 700 conservation easements, making it the largest land Trust in the Southeast.  

"The Georgia Land Trust took on Johnson’s Crook as a protection project because of its ecological and historical significance. In addition to being a filter for clean drinking water, Johnson’s Crook contains important ecological features such as caves, rare plants and habitat for a variety of wildlife.

"For approximately three years, the Land Trust has been working with partners such as banks, a bankruptcy trustee and the Southeast Cave Conservancy on the acquisition and stewardship of the land. When the Land Trust completes its acquisition and conservation effort, plans are to work with an individual or organization who will own the land and will permanently protect he land with a conservation easement.

"The Georgia Land Trust will continue to be involved in the stewardship of the land and will insure that the land is never turned into a development or subdivision. The land trust plans to have periodic meetings to update interested parties. Updates will emailed and posted on the website (www.galandtrust.org) and the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AlabamaGeorgiaLandTrust.

"Anyone who has questions about Johnson’s Crook or conservation easements can please call the Land Trust office at 256-447-1006."


Georgia Man Arrested For Aggressive Panhandling On Shallowford Road

Timothy Catlett was arrested for panhandling on Shallowford Road on Tuesday. Catlett was seen at Shallowford Road and Highway 153 stopping traffic and yelling at drivers who did not stop and give money. Police said that Catlett told drivers that he was a hurt Army veteran. Though Catlett resides in the state of Georgia, he has been cited for panhandling around ... (click for more)

Montrell Besley Kicks Off Campaign For School Board

Montrell Besley will be running for a seat on the Hamilton County School Board, District 4.  He is a Chattanooga native and father to three kids. He grew up in the Alton Park community, where he currently resides.   He is a graduate from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health and Human Performance and attained his Masters of Science ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)

McMasters Makes Tough Call To Play Volleyball At Lee

Grace Baptist Academy two-sport standout Claire McMasters envisioned playing basketball and volleyball at a small college after her career ended with the Lady Golden Eagles. So, she “looked at” Covenant College and Maryville College as two schools where she thought that would be possible to extend her two-sport status. McMasters’ recruiting shifted quickly once Lee University ... (click for more)

East Hamilton's Briar Potter To Wrestle At MTSU

It seemed like Briar Potter made history for East Hamilton every time he stepped onto the wrestling mat these last four years. He was a four-year starter and qualified for the state meet in all of those years.   He was the Hurricanes first state medalist when he finished fourth at 106 pounds as a sophomore. He is surely the winningest Hurricane with 98 wins and he’s ... (click for more)