Western View-Shed of Chattanooga Protected
One thing is for certain these days. Chattanooga is a thriving and fast growing community. According to several big name magazines including National Geographic, Outside Magazine and Forbes, Chattanooga is the place to live, work, retire, or visit, to enjoy the great outdoors.
The Tennessee River Gorge Trust has had a growth spurt of its own. The Trust has been working with heirs of the Leo Stolphmann family to acquire a 308-acre conservation easement which protects, in perpetuity, the western view-shed of the City of Chattanooga. This brings the total preserved land to more than 16,700 acres or 62% of the Gorge in only 27 years.
“This property was identified in 1986 as a prime target for protection by the Trust,” said Trust Executive Director, Jim Brown. After many years of discussing the best outcome for the land, the property owners, and the Trust, the purchase of a conservation easement was agreed upon.
Appropriately named, “Gateway to the Gorge,” this property lies directly across from Williams Island. It is situated on the slopes of Elder Mountain, overlooks the entire downtown area and is visible from as far away as Missionary Ridge. Of ecological and historical significance, this terrain harbors pristine forest habitats and contains remnant entrenchments from the Civil War “Siege of Chattanooga” as well as portions of a Confederate military road that led to the top of Elder Mountain.
This conservation easement will allow the property to remain in private ownership while ensuring the land will remain as open space. “It is the best of all possible scenarios” said Brown, “The land is protected in perpetuity, the Trust does not incur additional property taxes, the family saves on their property taxes, and all parties are happy that the property will forever remain wild and scenic.”
Thanks to local supporters from across the Tennessee Valley, including local foundations and individuals, the Trust was able to secure the property. Even with this wonderful support, the Trust still needs to raise $265,000 by December 2009. “One hundred percent of every gift entitled “Gateway to the Gorge” will go toward this land purchase,” said Julie Beach, Business & Development Director of the Trust.
“Helping to fund this easement purchase will ensure that the Trust has the financial foundation necessary to continue ongoing land acquisition efforts, education, and land stewardship operations for future generations,” said Mrs. Beach.
The mission of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust is to enrich our community by conservation of the Tennessee River Gorge through land protection, education, and the promotion of good land stewardship.
The Trust’s work is urgent, but their accomplishments last forever. You can help local efforts to minimize development, protect rare and endangered plant life, increase wildlife habitat, and ensure that the western view-shed of Chattanooga remains scenic and naturally beautiful--with a gift to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. The natural vistas you help protect and enjoy today will last for future generations. Consider a contribution today to protect “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Visit the Tennessee River Gorge Trust’s website at www.trgt.org to see how you can help.
Top photo of gorge area by Frank McKay
Middle photo of easement courtesy of Tennessee River Gorge Trust