About Foothills – Board & Staff Archives

Jarvis Park Now Open to the Public!

Jarvis Park officially opens in Maryville!
A big thank you to Dr. Craig Jarvis, the City of Maryville, and landowners Betty Duncan & Jim Cornett for preserving this natural area while also providing public access. The new park boasts close to a mile of walking trails, two 250+ year old oak trees and a meandering creek that junctions with Duncan Spring.

Jarvis Park Map

Trail Map of Jarvis Park – Click on photo to enlarge

In 2018, FLC’s Board and staff partnered with Dr. Jarvis to place 9+ acres of the park into a conservation easement, an agreement which permanently protects the land from future commercial or residential development. The tract was then transferred to the City of Maryville the following year. That same year two adjacent tracts totaling 37+ acres were also placed into a conservation easement and transferred to the City of Maryville. Future plans include adding these 37 acres for the park’s expansion.

Jarvis Park, located less than a mile and half southeast of downtown Maryville, is one of the few remaining intact woodlands in the area and is bordered by open farm fields, residential development, and a rock quarry operation. The park’s preserved acreage joins at least 20 other conservation easements held by Foothills Land Conservancy within 10 miles, totaling over 4,000 acres of protected land in the immediate area.

Daily Times article: Jarvis Park Officially Opens in Maryville

Daily Times article: Doctors Land Donation to Become Tranquil Public Park in Maryville


“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, transferred ownership of her 300+ acre Blount County farm to Foothills Land Conservancy!

In 2009, Gail partnered with FLC to place a conservation easement on the property, located in Rockford, TN.  In 2017 she officially transferred the property to Foothills. FLC manages the property’s operations, which includes leasing out a portion of the land for farming.  The organization’s office headquarters are now located at the former homestead. Gail Harris continues to reside on the farm in a separate residence.

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.”

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.”

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.”

Your donation goes towards  supporting FLC’s enduring mission to preserve, protect, and enhance the lands of the Southern Appalachian region.

THANK YOU – Every dollar makes a difference!

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Back to FLC’s Donate Page – Click Here


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!