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Ringing in the New Year with Conservation Easements

January 12, 2011 | Maryville, TN | Foothills Land Conservancy
Ringing in the New Year with Conservation Easements

Big Lost Creek (Polk County)/Courtesy of KAML Holdings, LLC


Contact: Bill Clabough
Executive Director

Foothills Land Conservancy Announces Four Easements


MARYVILLE, TN -- What a perfect way to end our 25th year of service and jump start our 26th year as an East Tennessee land trust! FLC is pleased to announce a late December conservation easement signing on a 648 acre tract in Polk County. Surrounded on all sides by the Cherokee National Forest, this property offers ridge top views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  There are three cabins currently on the property. Tributaries on the property allow for critical trout spawning for both the Hiwassee and Ocoee River watersheds, including 2.4 miles of trout habitat along Big Lost Creek. The property offers a mixed hardwood forest as well as old-growth white pine and hemlock.  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.”

Additional FLC 2010 conservation easements include an 11 acre tract outside of Maryville. 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 this land 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.

Billy Wallace decided to partner with Foothills this year to place his 15 acre tract in Halls (Knox County) 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. Surrounding the blue hole is good quality habitat for a variety of field and wetland birds. Sparrows love the mix of grasses and nearby water source – allowing them a place for nesting and protection. A lone, tall tree trunk along the spring hole is the remnant 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 (w/ 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.


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