For the love of East Tennessee’s natural beauty… FLC receives 12 acre donation in Pittman Center (Sevier County, TN)

December 21, 2022 Conservation Easements, FLC Partners, FLC Projects, Habitat & Wildlife, Land Acquisition & Preservation

Images clockwise from top left) Majestic views of the Great Smoky Mountains looking out from the preserved property; FLC Exec. Dir. Bill Clabough poses with landowner Mary Jane Moore and her partner Richard Payne; East Tennessee black bear observed near the homestead; Bill visits with Mary Jane & Richard inside the property’s cabin

Sevier County, Tennessee – Mary Jane Moore is a world traveler, having visited all 7 continents with her partner, Richard Payne. They have taken over 90 natural history trips post-retirement but the natural world of East Tennessee kept calling them back.

“I’m from Memphis and Richard is from North Carolina. We visit my family cabin and 12 acres about twice a year – usually during the months of October and April. No matter how many trips I’ve been on, I always return to the beauty of mountains. I keep coming back because of the unique natural expression of this land and my hope is that the next owners appreciate this special place too.”

Located in the Sevier County town of Pittman Center, the homestead’s back porch offers some outstanding views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including a postcard worthy scene of Mt. LeConte.

Back in the late 90’s, just before retiring as a professor of biological anthropology from San Diego State University, Mary Jane decided she wanted to preserve her property’s views and wildlife habitat. She reached out to Foothills Land Conservancy and placed a conservation easement agreement on the property.

The memories of her parents and their time at the cabin are still present for Mary Jane. They purchased the original 5 acres and cabin in the 1960’s after retiring in the Memphis area.  Mary Jane’s father passed away in 1968 and her mother decided to stay at the cabin full time. In later years, Mary Jane was able to purchase an additional 7 adjacent acres along the property’s ridgeline.

It’s been three years since Mary Jane & Richard have visited the homestead. This month they landed back in East Tennessee just in time to enjoy the beautiful  fall colors. The changing of the seasons was poignant for Mary Jane as she had made the decision to call FLC’s office a few weeks ago to offer the gift of her land’s ownership to the Conservancy.

FLC Executive Director, Bill Clabough, reflects on just how much she loves this region. “Mary Jane’s love of East Tennessee, the natural world, and time spent with family at the cabin is what helped her make the decision to preserve this land. She called me yesterday wanting to know if Foothills could take another property inventory of the flora and fauna. I assured her that we would do that. All of the books and pamphlets in the cabin are a ‘decades in the making’ collection covering unique features of our region and the Park, topics like the history of elk in Cataloochee. For her to place her trust in Foothills Land Conservancy, confident that we would be good stewards of her property, is one of the most important responsibilities that we take on as a land trust.”