Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

OSI and conservation partners add over
1,000 acres to South Cumberland State Park

So Cumberland State Park

                               OSI’s South Cumberland Land Protection Fund focus area

MARION COUNTY, TN – April 14, 2017 –Today the Open Space Institute (OSI), in partnership with The Conservation Fund, The Land Trust for Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), announced the addition of 1,058 acres to South Cumberland State Park in Marion County. The acquisition connects more than 6,000 acres of protected land, and conserves forestland and cove habitat from future development.

The newly acquired land is adjacent to the Fiery Gizzard trail, which has been ranked as one of the top 25 backpacking trails in the United States by Backpacker magazine. More than 250,000 visitors enjoy the 17-mile trail annually, however many large sections of the trail and surrounding bluffs remain in private ownership. TDEC plans to relocate a nearby portion of the trail that is on private land to the newly acquired land.

OSI’s South Cumberland Land Protection Fund and the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund provided critical grant funding to the effort, which enabled the State of Tennessee to acquire the land in April 2017.

“The successful conservation of this land for the Fiery Gizzard Trail is a resounding win for outdoor lovers and wildlife alike,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. “This an enduring place that truly merits permanent protection, given its critical connecting role between 6,000 acres of protected land. We congratulate The Conservation Fund and The Land Trust for Tennessee on this momentous achievement.”

The Conservation Fund, with transactional support from The Land Trust for Tennessee, purchased the 1,058 acres from landowners Dr. George and Ruby Dixson in late 2016. The conservation win advances long-term conservation goals identified in the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP, 2015), Cumberland Voices: A Conservation Vision for the South Cumberland Region (2011), and the THRIVE 2055 Natural Treasures initiative.

The acquisition also builds upon the State’s recent efforts to conserve land in the region. In March 2017, South Cumberland State Park celebrated the dedication of Denny Cove, a 685-acre climbing destination just a quarter mile from the newly acquired 1,058 acres also conserved with the help of OSI. In 2010, The Conservation Fund, The Land Trust for Tennessee and the State of Tennessee partnered to purchase 6,182 acres on the Fiery Gizzard from a private timber company. At that time, 2,900 acres went into public ownership as part of South Cumberland State Park, and 3,282 went into private ownership with a conservation easement held by The Land Trust for Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

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