Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Help Protect Virgin Falls!

Reposted from  Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation 

Virgin Falls
To realize the scale, notice the human figure in the upper left at the top of the falls.
(There is a fundraiser to support this project this Wednesday night September 19, 2012 from 5:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. at the Belle Meade Carriage House in Nashville, Tennessee. $50 per person. Join me in helping  save a Tennessee treasure. Please RSVP to Jeanne Fitch at (615) 329-4441 or Rod )

Help Protect Virgin Falls! Our deadline is September 28th!!

Virgin Falls is Tennessee’s premiere scenic wonder and natural attraction!  Formed underground, its stream emerges from a cave, drops 110 feet, and disappears into another cave at the bottom of the falls.  A waterfall with no visible upstream or downstream! Virgin Falls is located on a privately-owned 1,551-acre tract with portions designated as a State Natural Area.  The Wilderness Area also holds numerous other upstream spectacular waterfalls including Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave Falls, and Big Branch Falls.  Additional attractions along the trail include caves, rock houses, Virgin Falls Sink, and Sheep Cave Sink! Also the land would conserve over a half mile of the Caney Fork River headwaters and incredible habitat for rare life.

Help protect this destination in a 55,000 acre wilderness.
Located on the Cumberland Plateau near Sparta, TN, it is a priority destination in the Corridor that links Fall Creek Falls to Scott’s Gulf to Bledsoe State Forest.  An impressive forest corridor of more than 55,000 acres will link awe-inspiring 110’ Virgin Falls to the dramatic Fall Creek Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains at 256’.  A 54-mile-long distance hiking trail is being developed called the Mid-Cumberland Wilderness Trail to take you through this wilderness corridor.  With your help, we can conserve the most important privately-held feature in the area.  Adding this scenic destination will keep visitors here longer and add to the economic vitality of the entire area.

Its privately-owned so…its future is at risk.
Although the 1,551-acre Virgin Falls State Natural Area is currently managed by the state, it is still privately owned and subject to private development pressures.  Virgin Falls was a “Bowater Pocket wilderness area,” set aside in 1970 for preservation.  The State purchased the lease from Bowater in 2006, but the land was still owned by four different private entities.  When the State’s lease expires, the land will be at risk to development.

We now have a short window of opportunity to purchase this natural treasure and to ensure it remains forever conserved and open to the public. Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation has negotiated and optioned the property on the State’s behalf.  The total cost of the project is $2.9 million but the landowners have discounted the price by more than $800,000.  Thankfully, $1.5 million is available through a state-secured federal grant and TWRA has committed $300,000.  Through the leadership of the Save Virgin Falls Committee, we’ve raised another $85,675.  We’re almost there!  We only need to raise $107,530 by September 28, 2012.  Will you help?

Each acre costs $1,318– a small price to pay for such beauty. Leave a legacy of an acre or a grove of up to 10 acres for this and future generations to enjoy.  Whatever gift you can make will get us one step closer to saving this wild and wonderful land.  We appreciate you.

This has been a priority for the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation for more than a decade. 
Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation is a statewide non-profit organization founded in 1998 with a mission to conserve Tennessee’s natural treasures.  In the Scott’s Gulf to Fall Creek Falls Corridor, we have secured more than 3,000 acres in four parcels. Conserved tracts include scenic Welch’s Point overlooking Scott’s Gulf, Caney Fork River bottomlands and the vista from Milliken’s Overlook in Fall Creek Falls.  All are open for public access with ownership divided between State Parks and TWRA.  Our most recent successes are the creation of Tennessee’s 54th State Park:  Cummins Falls State Park and the most-recently established wildlife management area at Short Mountain:  Headwaters WMA.

For more information, contact Kathleen Williams, President & Executive Director, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation at 615-329-4441 or Steve Walsh, Director of Membership, at 615-545-0195.

To make a secure, tax deductible donation towards this worthy cause, click the PayPal ‘Donate’ link on our website (be sure to include ‘Virgin Falls’ in the note section of your payment). You may also send cash, check or credit card information to:
Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation
117 30th Avenue S. , Nashville, TN 37212

Additional comment:  Many people already think this natural treasure is preserved, but as you can see from reading the above it is not.  The reason that it is important to purchase this property now is because the price is right and the owners are wanting to sell. As time goes on and current owners die and leave their interest to their heirs, the number of people necessary to negotiate a sale, multiplies. If the property is not purchased now, it could be lost forever.

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1 comment:

  1. A conservative who actually wants to conserve some natural beauty. Mind-boggling!