2,600 acres of Tennessee land gains protection

2,600 acres of Tennessee land gains protection

July 7th, 2016 by David Cobb in Local Regional News

Welch Point

Welch Point

Photo by Chuck Sutherland

A 2,600 acre swath of land in the Scott's Gulf area of White and Van Buren Counties will be permanently protected, The Land Trust for Tennessee and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced Thursday.

The property, acquired from private landowners in a deal finalized this week, will connect other public recreation land in the area and provide habitat for several rare and endangered species.

Fall Creek Falls State Park, the Bridgestone-Firestone Cenennial Wilderness, Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Lost Creek State Natural Area and the Bledsoe State Forest are among the areas connected by the new conservation property.

It will be managed as part of the Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness Wildlife Management Area, according to TWRA director Ed Carter.

"The land will provide needed conservation to several federally listed species and provide new recreational opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts," Carter said in a news release.

Funding for the project came from the Open Space Institute's Southern Cumberland Land Protection Fund, which was created with support from the Chattanooga-based Lyndhurst and Benwood Foundations, as well as the Merck Family Fund.

The state purchased the land from Bobby and Joy Cunningham.

"This sale is made in honor of my father, the late Charles Robert Cunningham," Bobby Cunningham said in the release. "He would be happy that so many visitors will now be able to use and enjoy this very special property."