Castle Rock Atop Cumberland Plateau Protected for Generations


Conservationists Collaborate to Balance Stewardship and Recreational Use

Jasper, TN
 – April 4, 2015 – The Tennessee River Gorge Trust, The Land Trust for Tennessee, The Conservation Fund, Harvey Cameron and The Southeastern Climbers Coalition today announced Castle Rock, Marion County’s most iconic view, and renowned rock climbing venue, will be protected and accessible for generations to come.

The Land Trust for Tennessee holds a conservation easement on the 30-acre, Castle Rock property that will protect it in perpetuity while allowing access for recreational use. Through a lease agreement with the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, The Southeastern Climbers Coalition will continue to manage the property for rock climbing enthusiasts and other recreational needs, which they have done since 2005.

Castle Rock sits atop the Cumberland Plateau in Marion County. The forested property contains nearly a half mile of bluff line, clearly visible from the valley below, which is popular among local and travelling rock climbers. The south-facing sandstone turret forming the bluff offers breathtaking views of the scenic Sequatchie Valley.

The Castle Rock property was previously jointly owned by Harvey Cameron, an attorney from Jasper, and the late Bud (Sam) Werner, an honored veteran and conservationist. Werner’s ownership was bequeathed to The Conservation Fund, a national organization dedicated to creating land and water protection strategies that balance environmental stewardship with economic vitality; and together the Fund and Cameron donated Castle Rock to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust.

“My wife, Emily, and I are very pleased this pristine area is protected in perpetuity, allowing the preservation of one of the most scenic views in this area,” says Harvey Cameron, donor of a portion of the Castle Rock acreage. “Through the efforts of The Tennessee River Gorge Trust and the teamwork of others the project has been successfully completed allowing Castle Rock to remain in its natural and beautiful state for which my wife and I are very appreciative.”

Thanks to the hard work of The Southeastern Climbers Coalition, Castle Rock, portions of which rise up to 120 feet, are now marked and equipped with nearly 100 sport and traditional climbing routes. The crag is known for having one of the hardest routes in Tennessee (Apes on Acid 5.13d) offering a challenge to even advanced climbers.

Joel Houser, Southeast Regional Director for The Land Trust for Tennessee said, “Castle Rock provides a shining example of how conservation organizations can come together to protect our unique landscape, ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy the land that we do.”

Rick Huffines, Executive Director of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, “The Tennessee River Gorge Trust is proud to collaborate with a dedicated team of conservationists who have worked hard to conserve this iconic Tennessee landscape feature in Marion County for generations.”

ABOUT THE LAND TRUST FOR TENNESSEE: The Land Trust for Tennessee is an accredited nonprofit organization founded in 1999 by local Tennesseans with offices in Chattanooga and Nashville. In the past 15 years, the organization has protected nearly 100,000 acres including working family farms, forest habitats, recreational public land and many of our natural and cultural resources. To learn more about the benefits of voluntary conservation, visit

ABOUT THE TENNESSEE RIVER GORGE TRUST: Since 1981, the Tennessee River Gorge Trust has protected over 17,000 acres in the Tennessee River Gorge supported entirely with local community funding. The Gorge starts just 5 miles from downtown Chattanooga, TN, and runs for 27 river miles into Marion County. To find out more about how we maintain the Tennessee River Gorge as a natural sanctuary for the community, visit us at

ABOUT THE CONSERVATION FUND: At the Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than seven million acres nationwide.


ABOUT THE SOUTHEASTERN CLIMBERS COALITION: The Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to preserving climbing access in the Southeast. The SCC began in 1993 when a group of climbers banded together to help out with ongoing access issues at Sunset Rock, atop Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN.  Twenty-two years later, The SCC has purchased and protected 7 climbing areas and manages over 30 all over the Southeast. The SCC’s mission is to preserve climbing areas for future generations to enjoy. To learn more, visit

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