Through the support of a number of private/public partnerships, the state acquired the land in November 2012. Prior to that, Virgin Falls had been under private ownership, but managed by the state as a natural area for nearly 40 years. Working closely with the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, the state of Tennessee was able to purchase the 1,551-acre parcel near Sparta through a combination of funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and private donations.
A favorite hiking destination for decades, Virgin Falls features a waterfall that exits a cave at the top of a cliff and then disappears into a second cave at its base. Nature lovers have noted the existence of unique flora and fauna and amateur geologists have explored the composition and structure of its many caves.
My Comment: I had the good fortune to be at the dedication last year when the state acquired Cummins Falls. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend tomorrow's dedication ceremonies. I wish I could be there. Kudos to my sister, Kathleen Williams, Director of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, who was instrumental in making this happen. We are fortunate to live in Tennessee which has some of the most precious natural treasures in the world. I think it is important that we save beautiful waterfalls and vistas and critical habitats for future generations.
If you are reviewing your end of year giving and looking for a good cause to support, join me in contributing the the Tennessee Parks and Greenways foundation and help save Tennessee's natural treasures. Without the work done by TPGF and similar organizations, these natural treasures would be lost for ever. State government is slow and cumbersome. An organization like TPGF can raise private money, purchase the property or option the property and then sell it to the state when the state is ready to purchase it. Without the intermediary roll of TPGF, these treasures would be lost forever.
“This is the fifth land project for our small non-profit foundation in the corridor that connects Fall Creek Falls to Virgin Falls. We’ve helped protect more than 4,500 acres along the Caney Fork, the Cane Creek Gorge, Welch’s Point and now Virgin Falls,” said Kathleen Williams, Executive Director of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.
Saving Virgin Falls had been a priority of TPGF for more than a decade.