The Land Trust for Tennessee and The Conservation Fund are excited to announce the protection of 4,061 acres of forestland in Franklin and Marion Counties of the South Cumberland region.
Adapted from the full press release.
After five years of hard work in partnership with The Conservation Fund and the State of Tennessee, this conservation effort protects endangered wildlife habitat and local jobs.
Thanks in large part to funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), more than eight miles of streams in the Crow Creek Valley and vital habitat for more than one-third of all the federally threatened Painted Snake Coiled Forest snails known to exist have been conserved.
The project also connects over 25,000 acres of forest and wildlife corridor:
- 13,000 acres – University of the South
- 7,700 acres – Franklin State Forest
- 4,061 acres – Sherwood in Franklin & Marion Cos.
- 375 acres – Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lee Carter Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area
Located an hour west of Chattanooga and adjacent to Franklin State Forest and Carter State Natural Area, the surface of the property will be managed by the State for:
- Public access and recreation;
- Drinking water quality for the downstream community of Sherwood;
- Wildlife habitat protection; and
- Sustainable forest management.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry will manage a portion of the newly protected land as part of Franklin State Forest, expanding future hunting access. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will manage the rest as part of Carter State Natural Area and South Cumberland State Park.
“By providing protection of threatened species and preserving one of Tennessee’s most scenic lands, Tennessee State Parks will preserve and protect this wild place forever,” said Brock Hill, Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Conservation. “The South Cumberland State Park area is unique in many ways. We look forward to managing this land for public recreation and the benefit of all state park guests.”
The Conservation Fund, with transactional support from The Land Trust for Tennessee, purchased 3,893 acres earlier this year from a private mining company, which retained the rights to mine limestone underneath the property for the next 50 years. This will allow the company to continue operations and maintain local mining jobs. In agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the company donated an additional 168 acres to mitigate for impacts to the Painted Snake Coiled Forest snail habitat.
This innovative conservation effort was made possible with funding from the LWCF – a bipartisan, federal program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties, not taxpayer dollars. LWCF is annually funded by the U.S. Congress, including Tennessee’s U.S. delegation representing Franklin and Marion Counties: U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, U.S. Senator Bob Corker and U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais.
“Preservation of Sherwood Forest in Franklin County will help provide future generations with opportunities for hunting, hiking and recreation in a beautiful area of our state. The State of Tennessee, The Conservation Fund and The Land Trust for Tennessee deserve our appreciation for their hard work and dedication to permanently protect Tennessee’s most diverse and important lands.”
– U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander
“Millions of people visit Tennessee each year to experience our incredible God-given outdoor amenities, and this newly protected land in the Sherwood Forest will preserve rare and endangered species while also expanding recreational opportunities for Tennesseans and visitors. It is important that this land is available for future generations, and I appreciate the hard work of all who are making that a priority.”
– U.S. Senator Bob Corker
“The Sherwood Forest in Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional district provides multiple resources that sustain the local economy and help protect the sensitive wildlife in the area. As an outdoorsman, I am pleased to learn that Sherwood Forest will also soon provide new opportunities for public recreation. Its protection will enable outdoor enthusiasts to come and discover the natural wonders that our great state has to offer. Thank you to all the contributors of the Sherwood Forest project and for their continued efforts to preserve the land for future generations.”
– U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais
The painted snake coiled forest snail is only found in Franklin County, Tennessee, with the entire known population inhabiting privately owned land prior to this conservation effort. In addition to the snail, this project protects habitat supporting the federally endangered Morefield’s leather flower as well as seven additional rare species of plants and animals. Identified as a “hot spot” for ecological resiliency, the land is also likely to support wildlife far into the future.
“The Sherwood Forest project exemplifies so much about the values and priorities of The Land Trust for Tennessee,” said Liz McLaurin, President and CEO of The Land Trust. “What a privilege it is to work with public and private conservation partners like The Conservation Fund, Open Space Institute, multiple state and federal agencies to protect a place for recreation, as habitat for rare and endangered species, for wildlife connectivity and for climate resiliency.”
To read more about this project and its partners had to say, click here to view the full press release.
Photos courtesy of:
- History of Sherwood: http://sherwoodtenn.com/
- Species profile for Painted Snake Coiled Forest snail (Anguispira picta): https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?sId=7835