CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 17, 2019) —The Open Space Institute (OSI) and the Tennessee River Gorge Trust (TRGT) today announced the acquisition of six properties on the northern and southern banks of the Tennessee River Gorge. Just miles from downtown Chattanooga, the properties will lay the groundwork for future trails, while preserving habitat and connectivity for an iconic threatened plant species.
The six individual properties, totaling 409 acres and located in Marion County, TN, are on the western part of the river gorge, a canyon formed by the Tennessee River. The properties are home to beautiful waterfalls, mature forests, and high-quality streams, and will provide habitat for the federally threatened large-flowered skullcap, which is found only in Tennessee and Georgia.
In addition, two of the properties are adjacent to, and will be added to, Prentice Cooper State Forest, a popular recreation area west of Chattanooga that is used by hikers, rock climbers, hunters, and off-highway vehicles.
“The protection of these six properties is a phenomenal win for both the people and wildlife of the Chattanooga region and beyond,” said Peter Howell, executive vice president at OSI. “We commend the Tennessee River Gorge Trust on their tireless efforts to protect the lands, so that they could be conserved for future generations.”