Please join Tennessee Wild this fall, as we explore eastern Tennessee through a series of hikes and activities ranging from a hike of the Cumberland Trail to viewing Sand Hill Cranes. Please join us! If you have any questions contact Pat Byington, at Pat@wildsouth.org .
Here is the Tennessee Wild Fall Calendar
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With Congress back in session this week, a renewed push is on for passage of a new Tennessee Wilderness Act.
Today marks the 29th anniversary of the original. The first Tennessee Wilderness Act was signed into law Oct. 30, 1984, by President Reagan. Leading the effort locally at the time was Will Skelton of Knoxville.
Nearly 30 years ago, the first Tennessee Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. It permanently protects places we now know as the Big Frog, Little Frog and Sampson Mountain wilderness areas.
Two years later, Reagan signed the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 1986, expanding the Big Frog Wilderness Area by 3,000 acres. That bill also expanded protection for the Appalachian Trail by creating the Pond Mountain, Unaka Mountain and Big Laurel Branch wilderness areas.
Tennessee contains a significant portion of America's eastern mountains, the Appalachians, and our portion is graced by the beauty of its forests and streams and by their unsurpassed biological diversity. But it is due only to decades of effort that these treasures are still here for us to admire and enjoy.
Over the past 5+ years, I have traveled across and up and down the State of Tennessee talking to people about wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest. With the recent reintroduction of the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2013 (S. 1294) in the United States Senate by Senators Lamar Alexander & Bob Corker, I have been reflecting on the depth & breadth of support for this legislation.
While politics in America is as polarized as I have ever seen, wilderness in Tennessee is our common ground. We have Democrats, Republicans & Independents who support the bill, along with lots of folks who want nothing to do with politics. I've talked to parents & grandparents concerned about their children and grandchildren's future, hoping that they will someday have opportunities to experience their natural inheritance. We have fisherman, hunters, backpackers, hikers, artists, pastors, photographers, water utilities, birders, botanists, county mayors and more who support the bill. We also have scores of businesses who support the bill including outfitters, rafting companies, gun shops, delis, bakeries, and more. Dozens of non-profit groups support the bill including advocates for clean water, open space, paddlers, hikers, and a sustainable environment & economy. Yes, a healthy economy & environment are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go hand in hand.
Chattanooga, TN - Tennessee Wild, a broad coalition of conservation organizations, is grateful today for Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker's reintroduction of legislation to designate new wilderness areas on the Cherokee National Forest.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act had been introduced in the prior Congress where it received a hearing and was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but ran out of time before a Senate floor vote was held.
Father Pierre de Charlevoix, a French priest who floated down the Mississippi River in 1721, passed by the western portion of the future state of Tennessee.
The priest stood in awe of the immense forests he observed on his voyage, and, in his journal, he said that there was "nothing in nature comparable to them."
As early Tennessee pioneers were constructing Buchanan's Station several miles south of the present city of Nashville, we are told that they cut down cedar trees more than four feet thick, the nearest limb being 40 feet from the ground.