Views of Townsend and the GSMNP from the recent Foothills Parkway extension

View of Townsend from the GSMNP from the recent Foothills Parkway extension.

(Blount County, TN) Foothills Land Conservancy is hosting a public ‘Community Conversation’ about the preservation of scenic views around the latest extension of the Foothills Parkway. This event is scheduled for 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center (123 Cromwell Drive | Townsend, TN 37882).

There is no place quite like East Tennessee! Our region includes a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) and surrounding lands that provide a majestic, culturally relevant, and unique window into the natural world that everyone is welcome to enjoy. The fact that the GSMNP was ranked as the number one visited National Park in the United States in 2018 helps to support these claims. With this understanding of our region’s popularity – both for its recreational aspect and as a draw to live and work here – perhaps it’s time to discuss how best to retain the scenic views, rural character, open spaces and wildlife corridors that we all know and love.

This is especially true for scenic roads like the newly opened 16 mile western portion of the Foothills Parkway, which extends from the Walland area to Wears Valley. For this reason, FLC will host a short program that includes images of the Parkway’s scenic views – views that pertain to certain mile markers along this 16 miles stretch that could be considered a high priority for an initiative. FLC will also provide a brief overview of their organization and their history of conservation projects around the Foothills Parkway portion between Walland (Hwy. 321) and Tallassee (Hwy. 129). Questions will be asked of the audience – Why should we protect these views? If this is important, how do we move forward? There will also be time for questions and suggestions by attendees.

FLC’s Executive Director, Bill Clabough believes it is crucial to seek community support to move this type of initiative forward. “Taking a moment to explore a variety of options when it comes to the preservation of scenic views around the Foothills Parkway and into the GSMNP is an important and timely conversation to have as a community. We hope that this meeting leads to the beginnings of a spearhead committee, consisting of individuals across East Tennessee that have the time, talents, resources, and desire to build momentum for some type of scenic view initiative.”
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About the 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. To date, FLC’s cumulative land preservation efforts now cover over 124,000 acres within Tennessee and the 6 surrounding states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

For media requests or additional information, please contact Elise Eustace at the FLC office by phone at 865-681-8326 or email at eeustace@foothillsland.org. To learn more about FLC, please visit www.foothillsland.org.

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