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“During my 12 years at FLC I have never experienced such a large, natural area being donated directly to the Conservancy and so unexpectedly. It was one of those rare moments that will always be a highlight for me during my career at Foothills.”                                                                          - Bill Clabough, FLC’s Executive Director

Bill and Billy at Fourman

(Left) – FLC’s Exec. Dir., Bill Clabough, and FLC Board Member, Billy Minser, visit the Fourman property. (Right) Rock formations along Piney Creek, located inside the preserved tract. Additional images are below.

On a chilly day back in February of this year FLC’s Executive Director, Bill Clabough, spoke to an audience at Asbury Place, a retirement community in Blount County, TN. The group wanted to hear all about Foothills and questions arose such as, ‘What does FLC do exactly?  Where are some of the preserved properties located and what are they like?” One gentleman in the front row seemed to have a particular interest in land preservation. His name is Don Fourman and, unbeknownst to the Conservancy, he had quite a large preservation project of his own in mind.

Mr. Fourman owned close to 1,000 acres of natural lands in Roane County – a beautiful property with creeks, woodlands, scenic views along with a unique history – and he had been considering how best to preserve this property for future generations. One of the tract’s borders adjoins the 11,000 acre Mount Roosevelt State Wildlife Management Area. After a few initial conversations with the Conservancy, along with staff and Board site visits, Don Fourman deeded the property to FLC in March of 2017.

The Conservancy is excited to announce this gift of land, with all of its unique natural features, will be forever preserved by the organization. This property now joins the 90,000 cumulative acres FLC has been a part of protecting – across 35 Tennessee Counties and the 6 additional states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

 Foothills appreciates any and all gifts given to the Conservancy –
no tract of land or monetary donation is too small or too large!

 EVERY GIFT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

Your donation assists FLC with protecting lands, like Don Fourman’s, all over the Southeast!

 Network for Good

or click here to print and mail this form along with contribution.

 

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FLC’s Summer Celebration!

Saturday •  August 19, 2017 5pm-8:30pm

HOST LOCATION: RiverView Family Farm

RiverView Family Farm sits on 265 acres and is located on Fort Loudon Lake in the Concord community of west Knoxville. The farm has the Tennessee Century Farm designation and has been in the family for 7 generations. This is a working farm providing grain and grass fed beef and hay.

Every year, FLC’s Board of Directors, staff, Friends of the Foothills, Corporate Sponsors, and those interested in learning more about the organization get a chance to visit and hear about our project successes and highlights. And, we just enjoy spending time with each other – it’s a party! On behalf of FLC’s Board of Directors and staff we wanted to thank all of our Friends for joining us at FLC’s annual Summer Celebration!

FLC’s  program kicked off with a short presentation from FLC Executive Director, Bill Clabough.  Bill highlighted that FLC has the potential, by the end of 2017, for another standout record year in regards to preserved acreage.  Bill also recognized all of the landowners FLC has worked with over the years who were in attendance, as well as the organization’s Board Members, staff and volunteers. In addition, he spoke about FLC’s move and ownership of the Harris Farm in Rockford, TN.

Doug Mills, Videographer of the local television program, “The Heartland Series”, provided his outstanding photography skills to capture the Celebration attendeesClick here to view event photos. Holly Hambright’s crew and the Pour Guys took care of guests with a Southern menu that included: Holly’s Famous Candied Bacon, Marblegate Farm Caprese Salad,  Pork & Chicken Sliders, along with assorted desserts, including Thumbprint cookies from Magpies. Door prizes included a rain barrel donated by the Water Quality Forum, a year subscription to the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine, a gift basket filled with Tennessee products, a hand made bluebird box out of NC and several other items.

Net proceeds from this year’s Celebration will go towards making the Harris Farm a permanent home for FLC, supporting our enduring mission to preserve, protect and enhnace the lands of the Southern Appalachian region. Now in our 32nd year of service, FLC has assisted in the preservation of over 90,000 acres of cherished mountains, working farms, and rural landscapes in 35 Tennessee counties and across 6 additional states

If you have any interest in supporting next year’s Celebration, becoming a 2018 Celebration Sponsor or an individual Host Committee member, please contact Elise Eustace at eeustace@foothillsland.org or 865-681-8326.

To view 2017′s  Celebration photos – click here

To view 2016′s  Celebration photos – click here


A special thank you to FLC’s 2017 Sponsors and Hosts!

 (Click on images to enlarge!)

2017 Celebration Sponsors

2017 Celebration Hosts

Click here to read FLC’s 2017 Spring Newsletter & 2016 Annual Report!

Front Cover - 2017

2016 was a record breaking year for FLC’s land preservation efforts! Over 24,800 acres spread across 17 Tennessee counties and the 4 additional states of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have now been permanently protected with a conservation easement agreement. 2016′s record year surpasses all other record years!

  • Alabama FLC completed 3 land preservation projects totaling 468 acres in the counties of Cherokee and Dekalb.
  • Georgia FLC completed 8 land preservation projects totaling 1,572 acres in 8 counties of Carroll, Jefferson, Lumpkin, Madison, Pickens and Stephens.
  • North Carolina – FLC completed 5 land preservation projects totaling 612 acres in the counties of Chatham, Clay, Graham, Sampson and Watauga.
  • South Carolina – FLC completed 1 land preservation project in Williamsburg County totaling 308 acres.
  • Tennessee – FLC completed 29 land preservation projects totaling 21,889 acres in the 17 TN counties of Benton, Bledsoe, Carter, Cocke, Clay, Overton, Decatur, Fentress, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Humphreys, Loudon, Perry, Roane and Sequatchie.

To date, FLC’s cumulative land preservation efforts now cover 90,000 acres across 36 Tennessee Counties and the 6 additional states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.  Please know that our organization could not come this far without the support of our Friends, thanks to your generous and ongoing contributions FLC is able to expand conservation efforts across our diverse region. Below are a few highlights of FLC’s land preservation projects completed in 2016:

GEORGIA - Lumpkin County | 721 Acres

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View of the Chestatee River from FLC preserved property in Lumpkin Co., GA.

Situated near the outskirts of the town of Dahlonega in Lumpkin County, Georgia, this newly preserved property will protect approximately 721 acres adjoining the Chestatee River. Natural features include oak-hickory-pine forests, canebrakes, cove hardwood forests, alluvial forests, a river, creeks, springs, small rock outcrops, and small fields. The easement helps to enhance water quality in the watershed downstream.  These water features provide a habitat for aquatic organisms, reproductive habitat for terrestrial amphibians, drinking sources for wildlife, and many other benefits.

NORTH CAROLINA – Clay County | 117 acres

This 117 acre property, located in Clay County, NC, varies from gently rolling topography to severely steep slopes and dry rock outcrops. Virtually all of the land is forested and provides contiguous habitat with adjoining US Forest Service Land. The easement is situated high on a prominent mountain and provides a scenic backdrop above Lake Chatuge in an area that has had a population growth rate of over 20% since 2000. Long range views are supported by the easement for an extensive area at least eight miles away from the tract.

A number of bird species of concern were noted on the property. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is considered a State Wildlife Action Plan Priority Species. The Eastern Towhee is recognized as an important US – Canada Stewardship Species in the Partners in Flight program.  This program was launched in 1990 in response to growing concerns about declines in the populations of many land bird species.

NORTH CAROLINA - Graham County | 73 acres

Graham Co. NC Property

This recently preserved property in Graham Co., NC, is located along Fontana Lake with views of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

This beautiful property is located directly across Fontana Lake from Great Smoky Mountain National Park, thus providing scenic views from one of the most visited national parks.  The tract directly adjoins United States Forest Service land, the Nantahala National Forest. This continuity is an important ecological concept for sustainable habitat for plant and animal populations as well as ecological communities. Within a one mile radius two other natural areas occur: Meetinghouse Mountain Natural Area and Owensby Branch Natural Area.  Easement restrictions will protect steep slopes above Fontana Lake, lake frontage, a reach of Tuskeegee Creek and a small unnamed tributary that flow into the lake.

NORTH CAROLINA – Watauga County | 47 acres

View of pond on recently preserved property in Watauga Co., NC.

View of pond on recently preserved property in Watauga Co., NC.

The property, which is located on the outskirts of Boone, NC, is within the view shed corridor for the National Park Service’s Blue Ridge Parkway. The site is a combination of gently rolling open land, ponds, and forest. There are four ponds and a spring in the open area. Within one mile of the property, there are a number of rare species documented. These include the Savannah Sparrow, Bobolink, Cerulean Warbler, Gray Comma, Tonguetied Minnow, and a Liverwort.

TENNESSEE - Carter County |12 acres

Located about one mile north of Carvers Gap on Roan Mountain in Carter County, TN, this 12 acre property consists of a young forest on a mountainous slope with the Cherokee National Forest adjacent along the southern border.

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Preserved property in Carter County, TN. View of Roan Mountain from road entrance.

This land is being preserved as a relatively natural early successional habitat for wildlife, especially as a potential breeding site for the rare Golden-winged Warbler. It is within several recognized priority conservation areas including the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), for the presence of the Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest. Five Poplar Branch, a stream which skirts the southeast corner of the tract, is recognized among Exceptional Tennessee Waters by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for being natural breeding grounds of the southern brook trout and the habitat for the state endangered mountain st. johnswort. The richness and importance of the region’s biodiversity is also attested to by the large amount of preserved natural areas within five miles of the property. A 4,200 acre portion of the North Cherokee Wildlife Management Area is adjacent to the tract’s southern boundary.  Pisgah National Forest covers the North Carolina side of the Roan Highlands one mile away. The 2,026 acre Roan Mountain State Park is just two miles to the north. Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area, consisting of 686 acres, is three miles to the east, and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has preserved 77 acres located about one quarter of a mile northwest.

TENNESSEE – Clay County & Overton County | 1,157 acres

This 1,157 acre property is located in the Tennessee counties of Clay and Overton and is adjacent to the Standing Stone State Park. Mature forests cover the majority of the property and include a mix of oaks like chinquapin, white, chestnut as well as shagbark hickory, sugar maple, and river birch. The conservation area contains over 3 miles of streams, which are tributaries to the Cumberland River. Protection of these streams will minimize sedimentation into important downstream waterways and contribute to improved water quality. The property contains at least 166 species of vascular plants, including two state listed rare species: butternut (State Threatened, State Vulnerable—S3) and schreber’s aster (State Special Concern, State Critically Imperiled—S1). The Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (2015) GIS database ranks nearly the entire Conservation Area as medium priority or high priority for the conservation of terrestrial, downstream aquatic, and nearby karst habitats. The property lies within the Standing Stone LFB Terrestrial Conservation Site (a significant ecological area prioritized for conservation actions) identified in The Nature Conservancy’s – The Interior Low Plateau Ecoregion: A Conservation Plan.

TENNESSEE - Fentress County | 516 acres

A recently preserved property in Fentress County contains 516 acres that lies in the upland forest on the Cumberland Plateau and the Plateau Escarpment. Hurricane Creek forms much of the border on the east side and White Oak Branch on the north. This land is being preserved for its scenic open space forest, its views of the Cumberland Escarpment and the protection of its natural habitat for the wildlife, breeding birds, aquatic invertebrates and the very rich plant life it supports. It is located within several recognized priority conservation areas including the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). This rich property has many preserved federal and state natural areas within 20 miles. These include Big South Fork National River & Recreational Area (91,310 acres), Obed Wild & Scenic River (2,570 acres), Catoosa WMA (7,830 acres), Jackson Swamp WMA (203 acres), Skinner Mountain WMA (4,060 acres) and Pogue Creek SNA (2,583 acres). Many privately owned preserved areas are also established within 20 miles of the tract including five easements that total 1,484 acres. In addition, Foothills Land Conservancy holds 6,226 acres in easements in Fentress and adjacent counties for their farmland, open space, and natural habitat. Hurricane Creek and Little Hurricane Creek just 0.6 miles upstream of the property are designated Exceptional TN Waters for the presence of the threatened Obey Crayfish.

TENNESSEE - Franklin County | 1,514 acres

This biologically diverse property in Franklin County consists of 1,514 acres and lies within close proximity of already preserved state natural areas including: Bear Hollow Mountain WMA (2 miles), Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lee Carter State Natural Area (3.5 miles), Franklin State Forest (5 miles), and Grundy Forest SNA (15 miles). This tract is within Nature Conservancy’s Franklin/Marion/Jackson Mountains priority Conservation Area, which if conserved, has a good probability of preserving the ecoregions’ biodiversity. The property contains habitats which have been deemed high priority habitat in the Southern Cumberland Plateau Ecoregion, including dry oak forest and woodland, seepage forest, depression ponds and acidic cliffs and talus. 43 woody plant species and 50 herbaceous species were observed during the site visit, along with 32 birds, 1 salamander, 1 frog, 1 snake, several small mammals, and several butterfly and dragonfly species. The rare Green Salamander was observed in the Cumberland Acidic Cliff and Rockhouse habitat, specifically the cliff on the eastern side of the tract. This species is a federal candidate for listing on the Threatened and Endangered Species list. The Tennessee leafcup and purple sedge, both on the TN Department of Natural Heritage List of Rare Species, were observed on the lower slopes of the property below the cliff.

TENNESSEE - Grundy County | 770 acres

Another newly preserved and beautiful property is located northeast of Palmer in Grundy County, TN. This tract is770 acres and consists of pastureland, upland forest, and riparian forest. Water for wildlife is abundant. The Collins River and its tributaries drain the majority of the property, and Mill Creek drains a portion of the west side. A portion of the land had been timbered, at least some parts selectively, perhaps fifty years ago, leaving much of the land in young regenerating deciduous forest with scattered trees approaching perhaps one hundred years old. There is roughly 75 acres is in pasture, currently holding about 60 head of cattle. The remainder of the land is oak-hickory woodland, primarily on the ridge or riparian woodlands along Mill Creek and Collins River with its tributaries. A variety of bird species were heard or seen on the farm including Blue-headed Vireo, Hooded Warbler and Ovenbird in the woodlands and Wood Duck, Field Sparrow, Yellow-breasted Chat and Red-shouldered Hawk in the open areas and bottomlands. The deciduous forests such as those found on the property are prime breeding habitat for Neotropical migrants such as the cuckoos, flycatchers, tanagers and warblers that were observed. Many preserved natural are in close proximity of the conserved land, including the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, which is two miles downstream.  There are a number of other non-governmental conservation easements nearby, including a thousand acre tract within 3 miles just west of TN 108, and a 325 acre tract within 6 miles. Within 35 miles along the ridges of the Cumberland Plateau there are thousands of acres of additional easement properties. Among them, Foothills Land Conservancy holds a 755 acre tract nearly adjacent to the property, plus approximately 9,000 additional acres in Grundy and adjoining Marion and Coffee counties.

TENNESSEE - Humphreys County | 3 projects totaling 3,098 acres

Three contiguous land preservation projects, totaling 3,098 acres, were placed under conservation easement in Humphreys County, TN. These properties all lie in close proximity to, the Duck River Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Duck River is ranked as a high conservation priority by the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan 2015. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Duck River is one of three hot spots for fish and mussel diversity in the entire world and is generally considered to be the richest river in varieties of freshwater animals on the North American continent. All of the properties contain at least 3 miles of perennial streams with two of the properties having tributaries to Trace Creek and Cold Branch. Two of the properties have over 90 species of vascular plants identified and all three properties have good, high quality, or high integrity examples of Interior Low Plateau Chestnut Oak-Mixed Oak Forest.

TENNESSEE - Humphreys County & Perry County | 4 projects totaling 4,519 acres

Four contiguous land preservation projects totaling 4,519 acres, located within Humphreys County and/or Perry County areas were placed into conservation easement partnerships with FLC. All four tracts contain high integrity or good quality examples of White Oak-Mixed Oak Dry-Mesic Alkaline Forest and over 100 species of vascular plants such as southern prairie aster and post oak, and blackjack oak. A site visit at one property yielded a sighting of the rare American ginseng. All four tracts also have at least 3 miles of intermittent streams, including tributaries. Three tracts have streams draining into the Duck River and three have streams draining into the Buffalo River – both rivers are ranked as a high conservation priority by the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan 2015. These four projects, along with the three nearby projects listed above in Humphreys County, and three additional land projects in Perry County, total 10,318 acres of conservation area for both counties in 2016.

TENNESSEE - Loudon County, TN | 70.5 acres

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View of the recent preserved property in Loudon County, TN, across from the Tennessee River.

This property consists of 70 acres of farmland and woodlots on the Tennessee River in Loudon County, TN, approximately one mile downstream of Fort Loudoun Dam. This land is being preserved for its scenic open space farmland and woodlands and the protection of its natural habitat for its terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. It is within recognized priority conservation areas including NatureServe’s Critical Watersheds for Freshwater Species. Thirty-two acres of the property is in farmland—16 in pasture on the rolling hills, and 16 in crops on the flatlands adjacent to the river. Two acres of riparian forest form a narrow strip along the river, made up primarily of sycamore, American elm, white ash, box elder, and silver maple. The remainder of the land is scattered among the pastures, mostly on steeper banks, and consists of hackberry, red cedar, and persimmon scattered in the more open areas. 29 bird and 1 late-season butterfly species were also noted on the property. Among them was a flock of 40 Horned Larks. This species is considered a common bird in steep decline by the Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture (Partners in Flight, 2016). It has lost 65% of its population in the last 40 years. There are many preserved natural areas within 20 miles of the property including the Paint Rock Refuge, Watts Bar Wildlife Management Area (WMA), McGlothlin-Largen WMA, and Kingston Refuge. The extensive 31,466 acre Oak Ridge WMA, not on Watts Bar Lake, is only 7 miles from the preserved site.

TENNESSEE - Perry County | 139 acres

This 139 acre property in Perry County, TN, is visible from the Tennessee River, thus providing a natural scenic view to the general public. This

Image of Tennessee River taken from the bluff of a newly preserved property in Perry County, TN.

Image of Tennessee River taken from the bluff of a newly preserved property in Perry County, TN.

tract also has frontage on the Tennessee River for over 3,000 feet and contains both mature and regenerating forests, and meadows. The Eras Bluff is a steep west facing slope adjacent to the Tennessee River that has extensive limestone outcrops and mature mixed hardwood forest.

The tract contains suitable habitat for over ten Greatest Conservation Need species identified in the 2015 Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan, including the Wood Thrush, Yellow-breasted Chat, Prairie Warbler, Allegheny Woodrat, Timber Rattlesnake and Eastern Box Turtle. At least 115 vascular plant species have been identified on the property including many limestone endemic or near-endemic species such as blue ash, bristleleaf sedge, false goldenrod, false aloe, cedar glade st. john’s wort and purple cliffbrake.

TENNESSEE – Roane County | 380 acres

This 380 acre property in Roane County, TN, is located on a prominent peninsula that extends into the southern shoreline of Watts Bar Lake. The tract contains about 1.5 miles of undeveloped, forested lakeshore plus high ridges and hills that rise 300 feet above the lake. The forested shoreline, ridges, and hills on the tract serve the public’s enjoyment of the scenic watershed around the lake. The property borders a popular summer camp, Camp John Knox, along the northern boundary.  Camp John Knox offers summer camp programs for children and youth groups and also operates the River Ridge Environmental Education Program offering hands on environmental programs for a variety of grade levels.  The tract is also in the view shed of Camp Buck Toms, a Boy Scout camp. The tract has a diversity of habitats ranging from mature oak-hickory forests with abundant mast to early successional fields that contain abundant cover and soft mast.  Also, the lake and its shoreline provide feeding grounds for many species of shorebirds and wading birds. This diversity of habitats in a relatively remote, undisturbed setting provides quality wildlife habitat for a corresponding diversity of wildlife species. The quality of the habitat on the conserved land is also important not only for resident species but also for many migrants, particularly birds that use the Tennessee River valley as a migration corridor during the fall and spring months. As an example, of the 47 species of birds were observed during a single-day site visit in October 2016, at least 12 of those species were Neotropical migrants using the property as a stopover during fall migration. Thief Neck Island, located less than one mile north of the property, is approximately 400 acres and is listed as a Watchable Wildlife site on the Tennessee Wildlife Viewing Trail. Bald eagles regularly roost at various sites along the reservoir during winter month with one of the largest of these roosts is found at Thief Neck Island. Ospreys can easily be seen during the summer months at Thief Neck Island. Both Bald Eagles and Ospreys were seen flying over the tract during the site visit in October 2016.  During the site visit, numerous tracks of white-tailed deer were seen, several flocks of wild turkeys were observed, and tracks of other wildlife—cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels, raccoons, and gray fox—were plentiful.

TENNESSEE – Roane County | 1,070 acres

Another preserved property, also in Roane County, TN, includes 1,070 acres of upland forest and riparian forest located on the north side of Interstate 40 with Harriman’s city line forming the western boundary.  Walden Ridge traverses the entire length of the property, forming steep forested slopes on both sides with uplifted escarpment rock outcrops on the south-facing slope. This ridge actually stretches 74 miles along the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The property is being preserved for its scenic open space forest, escarpment outcrops as well as the protection of the relatively natural habitat corridor for the terrestrial and aquatic wildlife and rich plant life it supports. It is within several recognized priority conservation areas including the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). From the rock outcrops within the property, one has spectacular views to the north, east and south. Among the scenery to the southeast is the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 50 up to 80 miles distant. The preserved land and the entire Cumberland Escarpment can be viewed from high points in the Smoky Mountains such as Gregory Bald and Look Rock.

TENNESSEE - Sequatchie County & Van Buren County | 1,088 acres

This 1,088 acre property is situated in northeastern Sequatchie County, with 13.5 acres in adjacent Van Buren County, and very near to the Bledsoe County line. This undeveloped and open tract located on the Cumberland Plateau is mostly covered in ruderal vegetation of early to mid-successional stages, and includes saplings, shrubs, grasses, and forbs. The different habitats found on the tract could provide a variety of food sources, nesting, and cover for many native wildlife species. Most of the property has been heavily impacted by timbering and strip mining, which have occurred at various times in the past. Regenerating timbered areas appear to be somewhat diverse in native tree, shrub and forb species, suggesting that recovery is both possible and occurring. During an FLC staff site visits in 2016, the team found three reclaimed stripmines on the property that were supporting 18 pair of Henslow’s Sparrow. This species is ranked by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) as S1B, which is defined as “extremely rare and critically imperiled in the state with five or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals”12 that breed in the state. TDEC lists it in only four Tennessee counties – Coffee, Lewis, Montgomery and Stewart. Sequatchie County, in which the bulk of the property lies, is therefore a newly found location for this imperiled species.

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Click here to read about FLC’s 2015 Land Preservation Projects!

Click here to read about FLC’s 2014 Land Preservation Projects!

Click here to make a donation to Foothills Land Conservancy. FLC is dedicated to promoting, protecting and enhancing the lands and environments of the Southern Appalachian region and promoting the character of the land for the general public, now and in the future. FLC is a 501(c)(3) and does not receive any financial assistance from local, state or federal governments. We rely on individual and corporate contributions solely to sustain our organization, land acquisition and stewardship funds.


“Since I inherited the farm from my late husband and he from his parents, I never did think of the farm as my property, only that I have been given stewardship of it. The donation of this land to FLC is the best way I can think of to honor that stewardship.”
- Gail Harris, pictured at her farm in Rockford, TN

Foothills Land Conservancy’s Board and staff are excited to announce that the organization’s founding member, Gail Harris, has given FLC ownership of her 300 acre Blount County farm! In 2009, Gail partnered with FLC to place a conservation easement on the property, located in Rockford, TN.  FLC will manage the property’s operations and the organization’s headquarters have been relocated to the former homestead.

For FLC’s Executive Director, Bill Clabough, this move is a monumental one for Foothills. “This is a tremendous gift that Gail has given the conservancy. It’s an opportunity for us to have a permanent headquarters, offered to us by the founding member of FLC, and on land that is protected through a conservation easement. I see so many great possibilities for the future of Foothills.”

FLC provided Gail Harris with a new modular home on the property in late 2016 so that she could stay and live on the farm. This relocation included the logistics of water, electrical, and septic hook ups for the modular home. Gail will continue to live on the farm for as long as she wants to. For Gail, it was the right decision at the right time, “It is my delightful privilege to donate this property while I am still living so that I can enjoy watching its transformation under Foothills’ management.  As open space and farms dwindle I know that the people of Blount County will be proud that this beautiful farm will be protected and enhanced by Foothills for the benefit of future generations.”

A description about the Harris property, included in the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine’s Fall 2010 issue, says it best. “The Harris property, which was purchased by the grandfather of Gail’s late husband, Jim Harris, dates back to the late 1800’s. The farm includes a spring fed pond, cave, former dairy farm, and an old tobacco barn.  Another amazing landmark? 600 million year old rocks dating back to the Cambrian period. Wright State University geology students have visited the site for research in years past. They studied the sedimentary rock outcropping so abundant in the area. Patches of yellow trillium and mayapples take shade under the 100 year old oaks, ash, and beech trees which buffer the Harris homestead.  A large variety of animals roam her property, including deer, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, and wild turkeys. Birds frequenting Gail’s feeders include bluebirds, warblers, finches, redwing blackbirds, woodpeckers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, and others.”  

Local company, Hickory Construction, completed the remodel of the Farm’s homestead for FLC’s new office in late May 2017. The Hickory team brought the structure up to code with updates to plumbing, electrical, and office lighting. They also sheet rocked, painted, and refinished all of the beautiful and original hard wood floors.  A new roof, front steps, and exterior painting of the home was also part of the update.

For Gail Harris, her wish is to make this transition happen now and not to wait:

“It is my delightful privilege to donate this property while I am still living so that I can enjoy watching its transformation under Foothills’ management.  I have absolute faith that Foothills will maximize the property’s potential as a working farm in combination with an educational nature center, wildlife preserve, and an animal refuge and rehabilitation center.  As open space and farms dwindle I know that the people of Blount County will be proud that this beautiful farm will be protected and enhanced by Foothills for the benefit of future generations.”

Your donations go towards making the Harris Farm FLC’s permanent home, supporting our enduring mission to preserve, protect, and enhance the lands of the Southern Appalachian region.

THANK YOU – Every dollar makes a difference!

Network for Good

Back to FLC’s Donate Page – Click Here

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More info about the Harris Farm:

  • Check out FLC’s  short video on our ‘About Us’ page that includes an interview with Gail Harris.  Click here!

 

 

 

2016 Summer Celebration Photos

2016 Summer Celebration – Photo Gallery

FLC’s Summer Celebration!
Saturday • August 20, 2016 • 5:00pm – 8:30pm • RiverView Family Farm

CELEBRATION LOCATION: RiverView Family Farm
12130 Prater Lane – Knoxville, TN  37922
RiverView Family Farm sits on 265 acres and is located on Fort Loudon Lake in the Concord community of west Knoxville. The farm has the Tennessee Century Farm designation and has been in the family for 7 generations. This is a working farm providing grain and grass fed beef and hay.

IMG_8569 (2)On behalf of FLC’s Board of Directors and staff we wanted to thank all of our Friends, over 300 of you,  for joining us at FLC’s annual Summer Celebration! This year’s gathering was held at RiverView Family Farm. A beautiful265 acre working farm and designated Tennessee Century Farm located on Fort Loudon Lake in west Knoxville.

FLC’s Executive Director, Bill Clabough notes that this event is always a special time for Foothills, “Once a year FLC’s Board of Directors, Staff, Friends of the Foothills, Corporate Sponsors, and those interested in learning more about the organization get a chance to visit, to hear about our successes as well as upcoming projects. And we just enjoy spending time with each other – it’s a party!”
Despite storms in the area all evening, RiverView escaped the showers and FLC’s  program kicked off with a short presentation from FLC Executive DirEagleector, Bill Clabough.  Bill conveyed that FLC has the potential, by the end of 2016, for a standout record year in regards to preserved acreage.  Mark King, FLC’s current V-P and outgoing President, handed over a large, carved eagle to FLC’s incoming President, Madge Cleveland.  This tradition began a few years ago as a symbolic passing of the leadership torch.  FLC Founding Member, Gail Harris, also took time to address the crowd, highlighting her love of East Tennessee and the importance of land conservation in our unique and highly diversified region.

Doug Mills, Videographer of the local television program, “The Heartland Series”, provided his outstanding photography skills to capture the Celebration attendees. Click here to view event photos.  Holly Hambright’s crew and the Pour Guys took care of guests with a Southern menu that included: Holly’s Famous Candied Bacon, Sweet Pea Salad with Feta & Mint,  Pork & Chicken Sliders, along with mini Key Lime, Chocolate & Strawberry Rhubarb Pies. Door prizes included a rain barrel donated by the Water Quality Forum, a year subscription to the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine, signed books by Bill Landry, Stephen Lyn Bales, and Sherri Lee Baxter. Local artist and musician and artist, Leah Gardner, donated a collection of her native tree and plant stationary.

As we transition from summer and into fall, the Foothills team has hit the ground running with projects in multiple Tennessee counties and states! The second half of the year is always a busy one for completing land preservation partnerships and we can’t wait to share the news as these projects become official conservation easement agreements. If you have an interest in learning more about preserving your land in it’s natural state or as a working farm, please contact the FLC office at 865-681-8326, visit our Landowner’s Page, as well as info on the now permanent enhanced Federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations.

- The FLC Team

 Click here or below to view event photos!

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A big thank you to FLC’s 2016 Celebration Sponsors & Hosts!

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Click here to read about FLC’s 2015 Summer Celebration!

Click here to read about FLC’s 2015 Land Preservation Projects!

 

FLC30years for AR (2)

FLC Celebrates 30 Years and Another Banner Conservation Year!

Maryville, TN –  Foothills Land Conservancy celebrated another successful conservation year with the completion of a record number of land projects within a one year period – 24 land partnerships totaling 7215 acres. These projects span 5 states and cover 7 Tennessee counties! To date, FLC’s cumulative land preservation efforts now cover 65,900 acres within the 7 states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and recent additions of Alabama and Virginia. FLC’s projects also involve two new Tennessee counties – Clay and Humphreys. FLC has also received 4 fee-simple land donations.

In other good news, the US Congress recently passed a bill that will make the tax incentive for conservation easement donations permanent. Once signed into law the incentive will be applied retroactively to start Jan. 1, 2015. “I consider the permanent tax incentive for conservation easements icing on the cake of an amazing year. We’ve had another successful year for Foothills and it happens to be a milestone year for us as well – celebrating 30 years as a regional land trust,” says Bill Clabough, FLC’s Executive Director. He adds, “This year’s conservation easement partnerships, support from all of our Friends, and our diversified Board of Directors are the major reasons for our continued phenomenal growth and expansion of our service area.”

FLC’s 2015 East Tennessee Conservation Easements:

Blount County Property

Outstanding view looking out into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from a recently preserved property in Blount County, TN.

Blount County, TN –   This 68.19 acre property in Blount County consists of three tracts and is located in the Top of the World community, close to the Foothills Parkway. This newly preserved property offers outstanding views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).  The predominantly forested and undeveloped nature of the property is valuable for the many natural resources it protects. The numerous oaks and hickories supply ample mast for wildlife and the rhododendrons add the needed cover for the black bear, bobcat and fox known to live in the area.

There are a few creeks on the property with one, known as Flat Creek UT, that is listed as a high quality stream within the GSMNP from which it enters the property just 100-200 feet upstream. Per the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation, observations of the federally endangered and Tennessee critically imperiled Indiana Myotis (Bat) have occurred between one and four miles from the property. Their preferred foraging area is riparian forest habitat. The streams on the Property provide such habitat and may very well be used as the bats feed up to nearly 6 miles from their roosts. Foothills Land Conservancy has eight conservation easements totaling 2,359 acres between one to ten miles from this Property on Chilhowee Mountain. Fourteen other easements, totaling close to 2,047 acres, are located near the Chilhowee Mountain ridgeline.

Bull Run Valley 1 - Knox Co., TN

FLC Conservation Easment in the Bull Run Valley area of Knox County, TN.

Knox County, TN – A landowner that has worked previously with FLC on two other preserved tracts, totaling 365 acres in the Bull Run Valley area of Knox County, decided to place an additional two tracts in conservation easement with Foothills this year.  One tract is 37 acres and is adjacent to Bull Run Creek with the other nearby tract at 22.45 acres. Both tracts consist of agriculture fields with no buildings permitted on either tract.

Evidence of wildlife on the property during the site visit was plentiful, with deer, gray squirrel, eastern chipmunk and turkey being most prominent. Several dragonflies, damselflies, skippers and other butterflies were observed utilizing the Property including migrating Monarchs. A variety of birds were heard or seen including a number of warblers and thrushes in the woodlands and sparrows and hawks in the open lands. The most unique habitat found on the Property was a limestone bluff stretching across the southern boundary of the one of the tracts. It supported several uncommon limestone-loving ferns including walking fern, spleenwort, and purple cliffbrake.

Knox County, TN

Knox County, TN – Consulting Biologist, Tom Howe, stands next to a shellbark hickory tree.

Knox County, TN - A 15 acre Knox County property, located in the community of Powell, has been placed under conservation    easement with Foothills. It consists mainly of wetlands and also provides the frontage for a scenic road. The landowner has plans to donate it to the Legacy Parks Foundation with the overall understanding that it will eventually be turned over to the city/county government for a public park.

The Property is essentially an island of habitat amid an urban setting and therefore is an oasis for wildlife. The mature trees and shrubs offer plentiful seasonal food, cavities, nesting sites and cover for most urban wildlife and for migratory and resident birds.  The creek, being a year-round water source, would be an important resource for wildlife including fish, waterfowl, amphibians and aquatic arthropods. There was abundant white-tailed deer sign and some beaver sign observed on the property during an FLC inventory of the flora and fauna.

Rural Resources - Greene Co., TN

Picture of Rural Resources farm in Greene County, TN

Greene County, TN – A 15.17 acre tract in Greene County, belonging to the non-profit group, Rural Resources, has been preserved through a conservation easement agreement with FLC. The property was formerly owned by the Childress family. The Childresses established the organization in response to the rapid loss of farmland they observed and desired their four-generation farm and others to be preserved.   Rural Resources is dedicated to the education and training of youth in environmentally sound farming practices and teaching them to run a farm or food related business. The organization plans to continue utilizing the property in a manner that allows for sustainable agricultural practices and supports educating the community for an agrarian way of life into the future.

There is a creek on the property with the Nolichucky River close by. The property made up of approximately 90% agricultural fields and pastures and 10% of riparian fringe along the creek. The land also supports grassland birds that are increasingly under pressure to survive due to diminishing habitat. This includes the Eastern Meadowlark which has been seen on site and the Northern Bobwhite which breeds on the property. It also serves as the wintering grounds for field-loving birds such as the White-crowned Sparrow, uncommon in Tennessee. The riparian corridor also provides cover for migrating birds in spring and fall.

FLC Continues Conservation Efforts across Middle Tennessee:

Van Buren County, TN – Two adjacent properties have been placed under conservation easement with FLC in Van Buren County, TN. One property is 528.92 acres and the other is 1,025.07 acres. Both tracts have reclaimed mine sites with good drainages. The Rocky River flows through both sites.

Close to these properties are two other tracts, which have also recently been preserved through conservation easements. One tract is 328.38 acres and the other, larger size tract, is 631.30 acres. While portions have been timbered, there are open fields with native vegetation, include oak and hickory along with warm season grasses. The Rocky River also flows through one of the tracts.

Three of the Van Buren CE’s are located next to the historic Trail of Tears. This year’s land projects in Van Buren County contribute towards 4,000 contiguous acres now being preserved through FLC’s conservation easements, along with a few thousand additional acres are located close by.

Assorted Van Buren Images from CE's

Images from FLC’s Van Buren Conservation Easements

To view descriptions and  photos for the remainder of projects, please view the image  gallery below. (Select a photo to enlarge.)

 

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About Conservation Easements: For private landowners who wish to ensure their property stays in its natural state or as a working farm ‘in perpetuity’, or forever, they can opt to enter into a conservation easement agreement with a land trust. This customizable contract describes the activities allowed on the property like hiking, camping, firewood cutting, and farming, but often prohibits things like mining and future commercial or residential development. Landowners who place a conservation easement on their property can continue to own, use, sell, live on or bequeath their land.

About Foothills Land Conservancy: FLC is dedicated to promoting, protecting and enhancing the lands and environments of the Southern Appalachian region and promoting the character of the land for the general public, now and in the future. FLC is a 501(c)(3) and does not receive any financial assistance from local, state or federal governments. They rely on individual and corporate contributions solely to sustain their organization, land acquisition and stewardship funds. Anyone wishing to learn more about FLC, can visit www.foothillsland.org or contact the Foothills office at 865-681-8326 or info@foothillsland.org.

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Foothills Land Conservancy ● 865-681-8326 ● 373 Ellis Avenue ● Maryville, TN 37804 ● www.foothillsland.org

Media Links:

January 2016 Article – Knoxville News Sentinel ‘Foothills Land Conservancy enjoys another record year’, click here.

December 2015 Article – Maryville Daily Times ‘FLC Protects more than 7000k acres’, click here.

November 2015 Article – Maryville  Daily Times ‘Land Conservancy’s Big Year’, click here.

Read about FLC’s 2014 Land Projects, click here.

To make a donation to FLC, click here.

 

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Image taken from Bluff Mountain in Sevier County. Photo courtesy of Mike Naney.

Image taken from Bluff Mountain in Sevier County. Photo courtesy of Mike Naney.

 We hope you can join FLC staff for an  ‘Open House’ atop Bluff Mountain on Sunday,  October 18, 2015, from 11am-3pm.  This will be an informal gathering that  includes a fall update on FLC’s programs, light refreshments and an optional, short guided walk.

DETAILS: The event is free and reservations are not required. The meeting location is: 3270 Greentop Road – Sevierville, TN 37876. Please contact  Elise Eustace with any questions at: 865-681-8326 or eeustace@foothillsland.org.

The Bluff Mountain Ecological Reserve was established in 2009. This 510 acres atop Chilhowee Mountain in Sevier County was bequeathed to the Foothills Land Conservancy by the late Marian E. Oates – a much loved and respected teacher, community volunteer, and conservationist. Once a favorite vacation spot for Marian’s grandparents and her father, Frank, back in the early 1900s, the site offers panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding counties, contains several springs, and provides for native plant and wildlife habitats. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Frank Oates developed a land acquisition plan to buy up tracts, eventually purchasing the very top of Bluff Mountain for $10,000. With a bit of patience and much excitement he and his wife, Emma Ree Crooks Oates, built their dream retirement home at this site in 1964. This land is now protected from commercial development through a conservation easement with Foothills Land Conservancy that was also made possible by Ms. Oates.

 

 

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