Displaying items by tag: foothills land conservancy
Nonprofit’s plan to purchase equestrian property faced opposition but raised important future farmland issues
UPDATE: The Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission rejected the proposal for a KARM facility citing zoning restrictions. Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries may still bring the proposal to the Jefferson County Board of Zoning Appeals.
NEW MARKET — Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries plans to purchase River Glen, a storied equestrian facility in Jefferson County, to eventually help disadvantaged clients overcome substance-abuse issues and societal disparities.
The proposal has detractors, but proponents cast it as a way to also ensure the continued operation of an established working horse farm and long-term site of equestrian events, especially dressage. The horses could even provide therapy.
The New Market debate also raises questions about aging U.S. farmers and ultimate disposition of their agricultural lands.
President and Chief Executive Officer of KARM Danita McCartney said her group plans to purchase 185 acres. In addition to its show-worthy horse facilities, the property borders the Holston River and retains a significant amount of forest along the river and sharp ridge lines.
The property’s owner, Bill Graves, spoke highly of the potential new owners and said he was selling the land largely because he wanted to retire from running the business.
The Jefferson County Planning Commission planned to discuss the nonprofit’s plan for the site at a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 23 at the Courthouse at 202 W. Main St. in Dandridge.
- new market
- river glen
- river glen land use debate
- equestrian facilities in east tennessee
- horses and economy
- dressage in east tennessee
- knoxville area rescue ministries
- horse farm transition
- mattalyn rogers dressage
- knoxville dressage
- horse farms and environmental preservation
- mattalyn rogers horse trainer
- horse therapy east tennessee
- katie fleenor
- foothills land conservancy
- bill clabough
Jefferson County views and values protected with Foothills Land Conservancy easement
Shelby Lyn Sanders is a field biologist with Foothills Land Conservancy.
JEFFERSON CITY — Can you see the Sleeping Lady?
We are standing on the back porch of the historic Isaac McBee House, built in 1850, and I follow Jack Kramer’s gaze across the back lawn, over McBee Island flanked by the cold March waters of the Holston River, and to the mountains in the distance.
“She’s easier to see this time of year,” he says, because those distant hills are unobscured by the foliage of trees still nakedly waiting for spring. Indeed, I can see her — she lies with her head to the west and her toes stretched out to the east, the hills forming the rise and fall of her body.
Maryville-based FLC is finalizing this year’s remaining land preservation projects
131 acres in Jefferson County, TN, now preserved!
Left: Outstanding views atop this recently preserved property with cosmos blooms in foreground.
Middle: Spring-fed pond on the property.
Right: Mature forest on the west side of the property. Touch here for additional images
To date in 2021, FLC has worked with landowners to assist in the conservation of over 1,300 acres. It anticipates a few thousand more acres protected by year's end.
Highlights from the past year
Glenn and Katie Savage are two of FLC’s newest friends and partners in land conservation.
They recently placed a conservation easement on their 131-acre property, affectionately named Dancing Winds Wildlife Sanctuary and Arboretum, which is “dedicated to the preservation and protection of God’s glorious creations — plants and animals.”
Glenn has cultivated over 400 different types of trees which are planted across the property and lovingly tends his home garden full of a variety of beautiful and unique flowers.
The Savages have several fields planted in corn/grain sorghum as well as a variety of oaks and other mast-producing trees to supplement the diet of the countless white-tailed deer and turkeys that call their property home.
Glen and Katie are also avid birdwatchers and provide many types of feeders for their winged backyard visitors. The Savages say that protecting their beloved property and knowing that it will forever remain a safe haven for wildlife has given them peace of mind, and Glenn hopes in the future to convince some of his neighbors to partner with FLC to protect their land, too.
Tap here for additional images
The Conservation Fund and state wildlife and forestry officials reached a deal to conserve and manage thousands of wild acres in Fentress County.
The expanse was previously held by an out-of-state speculative investment company likely originally tied to timber companies.
The Cumberland Plateau and escarpments have been increasingly recognized for their biodiversity along with the Smokies to the east beyond the Tennessee Valley. The Cumberlands are along a songbird and fowl migration route, and host a niche population of mature timber, mosses, lichens, fungi, mammals and amphibians. Elk were reintroduced a decade ago, and black bears have begun to range across the Cumberlands and their base.
The area is pocked with caves and sinkholes, some containing petroglyphs and other carvings from previous populations.
"On the Cumberland Plateau, the key to maintaining biodiversity is to retain as much natural forest (both managed and unmanaged) as possible," a forestry expert told the News Sentinel's Vincent Gabrielle.
The Foothills Land Conservancy has also helped protect thousands of acres along the plateau and its escarpments in recent years.
Go check out the ancient oaks in Maryville’s new park
Jarvis Park is 1.5 miles southeast of downtown off South Court Street and includes nearly 10 acres owned by Maryville doctor Craig Jarvis that were protected under a conservation easement via Foothills Land Conservancy in 2018 and transferred to the city a year later.
Park highlights include two 250-year-old oak trees, a mile of walking trails and a creek near Duncan Spring.
An additional 37 acres, consisting of two lots adjacent to the park, will be transferred for preservation to the city in the future, per current expansion plans, according to a conservancy digital newsletter. That acreage would adjoin the park.
“Jarvis Park ... is one of the few remaining intact woodlands in the area,” according to the conservancy, which added it was “bordered by open farm fields, residential development, and a rock quarry operation.”
The park is one of 20 other such easements held by the conservancy that total more than 4,000 acres in the immediate Blount County area.
Foothills Land Conservancy preserves land and multiple habitats across seven states
Foothills Land Conservancy rang in the new year with the preservation of 250 undeveloped acres along the Little Pigeon River in a rapidly growing area of Sevier County in East Tennessee.
The deal was finalized in late 2020 — a fitting end to the Blount County conservancy’s 35th year.
Foothills Land Conservancy has protected about 135,000 acres in seven states, including 95,000 acres in East Tennessee, since its inception in 1985. For comparison’s sake, that’s nearly a third of the protected land that encompass the 500,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most of that land has been acquired since 2006, when former state Sen. Bill Clabough became executive director.
“We’ve been really growing and expanding,” Clabough said late last year from the conservancy headquarters on the century-old Harris family farm in Rockford.
The farm itself is under a conservation easement, one of several ways the conservancy preserves and protects natural and agricultural lands.
“When you do good work you don’t have to do a lot of advertising,” said Clabough, 69, a likable former country store owner and Wildwood native whose political public service came to an end in 2005 when the moderate Republican incumbent was defeated by a firebrand conservative in the Senate GOP primary.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Clabough said of his primary defeat.