Archive for January, 2011

FLC is pleased to announce last week’s conservation easement signing on a 648 acre tract in Polk County. Surrounded on all sides by the 640,000 acre Cherokee National Forest, this property offers ridge top views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Tributaries on the property allow for critical trout spawning habitat for both the Hiwassee and Ocoee River Watersheds. Property includes almost 2.5 miles of dense old-growth white pine and hemlock forest. Bill Clabough, FLC’s Executive Director, considers this a rare opportunity to preserve land that remains relatively untouched by human hands. “The beauty and environmental values of this property are in keeping with the forest lands surrounding it.  What an outstanding opportunity for Foothills to assist in the preservation of this natural area both for our community and wildlife habitat.”

Registration of Conservation Easement at Polk County Courthouse (left to right - Dan Owens, principal property owner; Bill Clabough, FLC Executive Director; Meredith CLebsch, FLC Land Director; Lewis Kearney, FLC Board Member; Elise Eustace, FLC Communication & Development Director

(pictured left to right) Catherine Gilreath, Conservation Easement Donor; FLC's Land Director, Meredith Clebsch; and FLC's Executive Director, Bill Clabough

Catherine Gilreath, a longtime Blount County resident and outdoors person/volunteer, recently decided to give back to her community in the form of a conservation easement.  Her wish to preserve a 11 acre tract stemmed from the experiences she had growing up and the desire to preserve the land for others. Gilreath says, “Sports kept me out of trouble. Growing up in Sevier County (Kodak) across the road from Beech Springs School, my sibling and I along with all the neighborhood kids, enjoyed the nearby outdoor recreational facilities. That’s why I wanted to specify that this property could be used for community soccer fields and for other recreational uses.”

The property includes a mix of open space and woodlands as well as a creek – all wonderful attributes for an outdoor sports area.

Picture of Gilreath's Property (Blount County)

Billy Wallace decided to partner with Foothills in 2011 in order to place his 15 acre tract in Halls under conservation easement. This is truly a unique piece of land that includes a blue hole (or underwater sinkhole) that is part cave and part spring. The property’s spring feeds into Beaver Creek that cuts through the Halls community. Adjacent to the blue hole is a bird habitat. Sparrows love the mix of grasses and nearby water source – allowing them a place for nesting and protection. The tree trunk (pictured) is the remanent of an ash tree that likely provides for bird, owl and even raccoon habitat.

 

In early 2010, FLC agreed to hold a conservation easement for the Legacy Parks Foundation on 26 acres in Knox County for the purpose of enlarging the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge (SIWR) property.  Since that time, the Legacy Parks Foundation has given this  tract (that includes the easement) over to Knox County for inclusion in the refuge.  SIWR is a wildlife sanctuary that encompasses 360 acres. It’s available for recreational use by the general public. Management of the SIWR refuge is a joint effort between Knox County Parks & Recreation and the Seven Islands Foundation.  *Note* Seven Islands name was changed when it became part of the TN State Park system. The website for Seven Islands State Birding Park can be viewed here: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/contact/seven-islands.